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Full text of "The independent film & video monthly"

or Independent Video and Film www.aivf.org 



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contents 



January/February 2003 | Volume 26 Number 1 | www.aivf.org 




Features 



37 DYNAMIC DUO Todd Louiso and Philip Seymour 
Hoffman discuss working together on and off 
the set. [by Andrea Meyer] 

40 MEDIA MENTORS Experienced makers offer 
emerging talent guidance and support. 
[by Dr. Kimberly Weiner] 

44 COLLABORATING MEDIUMS Filmmakers 

experiment with moving image and music. 
[by Katie Cokinos] 

46 ROAD TEST: NEW MINI-DV CAMERAS Three 

independent filmmakers size up the 
Canon GL2 and Panasonic AG-DVX100. 
[by Maud Kersnowski] 

48 THE BASICS: RECORDING SOUND FOR 

DIGITAL VIDEO High-quality audio doesn't have 
to cost a fortune, [by Bryant Falk] 

50 HOWTO: BUILD AN AFFORDABLE 

EDITING SYSTEM Apple offers rich packages 
at affordable prices, [by Greg Gilpatrick] 



On the Cover: Philip Seymour Hoffman after the 2002 
Sundance world premiere of Todd Louiso's Love Liza. 
Photo by Joshua Kessler. 



Photos, this page: African American resort communities 
are the subject of Stanley Nelson's ITVS-funded doc A Place 
of Our Own (ITVS); Bryant Falk in the studio (Mark Stephen 
Kornbluth); Philip Seymour Hoffman as Wilson in Love Liza 
(Tobin Yelland); Apple's eMac (Apple); Mary Sampson 
checks out Panasonic's AG-DVX100 (Mark Stephen 
Kornbluth). 

Photos, page 4: Iroquois singer/songwriter Joanne 
Shenandoah is the subject of Tula Goenka's Dancing on 
Mother Earth (NAPT); Cecilia Garza shops in Reynosa, 
Mexico (Bernardo Ruiz); Amy Hick's Hatching Beauty 
screened at MadCat (MadCat); Johnny Depp as Don Quixote 
in Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe's Lost in La Mancha, docu- 
menting the Terry Gilliam production of The Man Who Killed 
Don Quixote (IFC Films); Rell Sunn (top) rides the waves in 
Hearf of the Sea: Kapolioka'ehukai (Jan Sunn Careia). 



January/February 2003 | The Independent 3 



contents 




Upfront 



EDITOR'S LETTER 

3 NEWS P.O.V. partners with ABC; ITVS 
takes helm of Independent Lens series. 
[by Aaron Krach; Charlie Sweitzer] 

1 1 OPINION Fight for your right to public domain art. 
[by GiGi Sohn] 

"0 5 PROFILE Shari Steele: Electronic Frontier 
Foundation [by Patricia R. Zimmermann] 

17 HELD REPORT Honolulu, Hawaii 
[by Susan Diane Freel] 

21 DOC DOCTOR When and how do you bring 

others into your project? [by Fernanda Rossi] 

25 SITE SEEING P.O.V. brings border issues 
to the internet, [by Maya Churi] 

2.7 FUNDERFAQ Native American Public 

Telecommunications, [by Jason Guerrasio] 

3 1 FESTIVAL CIRCUIT MadCat Women's 

International Film Festival, [by Kate Haug] 

35 ON VIEW Lost In La Mancha tracks Terry Gilliam's 
Quixotic struggles; plus other work to watch for. 
[by Jason Guerrasio] 



Departments 

53 BOOKS Visionary Film (3rd Edition), 
by P. Adams Sitney. [by Brian Frye] 

55 LEGAL The joint venture agreement. 
[by Robert L. Seigel, esq.] 

SO THE LIST Learning from others. 
[by Jason Guerrasio] 



Listings 

Sg FESTIVALS 

S7 FILMS/TAPES WANTED 

J NOTICES 

72 CLASSIFIEDS 

AIVF 

75 AIVF NEWS AND EVENTS 
T7 MEMBER BENEFITS 
79 SALONS 



4 The Independent | January/February 2003 



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from each system? Sony HDCAIvF, MPEG IMX and DVCAM Master series tape. 

Digital Motion Pictures enable all the traditional artistry of the cinematographer with 
the added magic of real-time digital control. Now filmmakers are making the move. 

Directors with creative stature and commercial credentials are increasingly choosing 
Sony equipment and tape. And not just for blockbuster movies such as Star Wars: 
Episode II Attack of the Clones, but also for episodic television, mini-series and Movies 
of the Week. Plus commercials, music videos and special venue 3D presentations. 

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6 The Independent | January/February 2003 



melndepmnknt 

M MflLM&VtDBO MONTHLY 



Publisher: Elizabeth Peters 

[publisher@aivf.org] 

Editor-in-Chief: Maud Kersnowski 

[editor@aivf.org] 

Managing Editor: James Ellis 

[iodependent@aivf.org] 

Staff Writer: Jason Guerrasio 

[jason@aivf.org] 

Design Director: Suzy Flood 

[suzyf@optoolioe.oet] 

Production Associate: Joshua Sanchez 

posh@aivf.org] 

Editorial Interns: Kathleen Kirk, Charlie Sweitzer 

[kathleeo@aivf.org. chas@aivi.org] 

Contributing Editors: 

Patricia Aufderheide, Maya Churi, Bo Mehrad, Cara 

Mertes, Robert L. Seigel, Esq., Patricia Thomson 

Contributing Photographer: Mark Stephen Kornbluth 

[mark@msknyc.com] 

Proofreader: Susan Freel 
[usinsusan@yahoo.com] 

Advertising Director: Laura D. Davis 
(212) 807-1400 x225; [displayads@aivf.Drg] 

Advertising Representative: Veronica Shea 
(212) 807-1400 x232; [veronica@aivf.org] 

Classified Advertising: James Israel 

(212) 807-1400 x241; [classifieds@aivf.org] 



National Distribution: 
Ingram Periodicals (800) 627-6247 



POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: 

The Independent Film & Video Monthly, 304 Hudson St, 

6 fl„ New York, NY 10013 

The Independent Him & Video Monthly (ISSN 0731 -5198) is pub- 
lished monthly (except combined issues January/ February and 
July/August) by the Foundation for Independent Video and Film (FIVF), a 
501(c)(3) dedicated to the advancement of media arts and artists. 
Subscription to the magazine is included in annual membership dues 
($55/yr individual; $35/yr student; $100/yr nonprofit/school; $150/yr 
business/industry) paid to the Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers (AIVF), the national professional association of individuals 
involved in moving image media. Library subscriptions are $75/yr. Contact: 
AIVF, 304 Hudson St., 6 fl., New York, NY 10013, (212) 807-1400; fax: 
(212) 463-8519; info@aivf.org. 

Periodical Postage paid at New York, New York 
and at additional mailing offices. 

Printed in the USA by Cadmus Journal Services. 

%'j Publication of 7??e Independent is made possible in part 

V^ with public funds from the New York State Council on the 

"oV»iun Arts, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the 

' Arts, a federal agency. 

Publication of any ad in The Independent does not constitute an 
endorsement. AIVF/ FIVF are not responsible for any claims made in an ad. 
All contents are copyright of the Foundation for Independent Video and 
Film, Inc. Reprints require written permission and acknowledgement 
of the article's previous appearance in 77ie Independent. 
The Independent is indexed in the Alternative Press Index and is a 
member of the Independent Press Association. 

AIVF/ FIVF staff: Elizabeth Peters, executive director; Alexander Spencer, 
deputy director; Priscilla Grim, membership and advocacy director; James 
Israel, Bo Mehrad. information services associates; Avril Speaks, executive 
assistant; Greg Gilpatrick, technology consultant; Sue Freel. Monica Brand, 
Leah Albert, interns; AIVF/ FIVF legal counsel: Robert I. Freedman, Esq., 
Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard. 

AIVF/ FIVF Boards of Directors: Angela Alston. Doug Block, Liz Canner, Paul 
Espinosa, Kyle Henry, Vivian Kleiman, Jim McKay*, Elizabeth Peters (ex 
officio), Alex Rivera*, James Schamus*. Gail Silva*. Valerie Soe, Ellen 
Spiro*. Rahdi Taylor, Jim Vincent, Jane Wagner*, Bart Weiss, Debra 
Zimmerman*. *FIVF Board ol Directors only. 

© Foundation for Independent Video & Film, Inc. 2003 
Visit The Independent online at: www.aivf.org 




Editor's Letter 

Dear Reader: 
Working and playing 
with others is rarely 
easy, but it is more 
rewarding than build- 
ing sand castles by 
ourselves. Art is, at its 
core, collaborative. We 
are influenced by artists that came 
before us and the ones emerging next 
to us. For this issue we have explored 
different types of collaboration. 
Andrea Meyer discussed the director- 
actor relationship with long-term 
friends, and creators of Love Liza, 
director Todd Louiso and actor Philip 
Seymour Hoffman (page 37). 
Kimberly Weiner investigated differ- 
ent approaches to mentoring (page 
40). You will find other takes on this 
topic in our departments; our legal 
expert Robert Seigel explored the 
prenup of the film world, the joint 
venture agreement. 

You will also find our annual tech- 
nology spotlight. Three filmmakers 
road tested two new digital cameras, 
the Canon GL2 and the Panasonic 
AG-DVXIOO, the first 24p digital cam- 
era marketed to anybody other than 
George Lucas (page 46). Sound 
designer Bryant Falk contributed the 
basics of recording audio with a did- 
tal camera (page 48). And Greg 
Gilpatrick assembled an affordable 
editing system (page 50). 

Magazines are always collabora- 
tions, involving the editorial staff 
designer, and writers, but this issue 
was even more of a group project than 
usual because we are introducing both 
a redesign and an expanded number 
of pages. I hope you enjoy both our 
new content and our new look. 

Thank you for supporting The 
Independent, 

Maud Kersnowki 

editor-in-chief 

editor@aivf.org 




June 19*22, 2003 



Call for Entries 



The first 

Oxford Film Festival 

welcomes films of all lengths and 

genres. Cash and other prizes will 

be awarded in 10 categories. 

Entry fees vary with genre. 

For entry forms log on to 

www. oxfo rdfi Imfes t.com 

or contact: 

Elaine Abadie 

Oxford Film Festival 

P.O. Box 544 

Oxford, MS 38655 

662-236-6429 

Fax: 662-236-6988 

en try @ oxfo rdfi Imfes t.com 




Tlw 2003 Oxford 
Film Festival 
will celebrate 
ivriter-directors. 



Send completed entry form, 

entry fee, and VHS tape to 

address above. 



DEADLINE: MARCH 15, 2003 




January/February 2003 | The Independent 7 




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P.O.V. Partners with 
ABC for "TwoTowns" 



By Aaron Krach 



Ted Koppel may be struggling 
to save ABC's Nightline from 
the expanding late-night 
entertainment complex, but 
he is doing all he can to support Two 
Towns of Jasper, the documentary 
about the hate-motivated 1998 mur- 
der of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, Texas, 
scheduled to air on PBS January 22. 

Nightline is working with the PBS 
series P.O.V. to expand coverage of the 
film into a four-day event, the high- 
light of which will be Ted Koppell 
hosting a live town hall meeting in 
Jasper on January 2?>, the night after 
the Two Towns broadcast. 

Two Towns of Jasper, directed by 
Whiney Dow and Marco Williams, 
garnered critical attention at 
Sundance 2002 for its provocative use 
of two separated crews one entirely 
African American, the other all 



Caucasian— to document the effect of 
the murder and subsequent trial oi" 
three white men charged with the crime. 

u Two Towns of Jasper has become the 
centerpiece of a collaborative effort" 
between ABC News and P.O.V., 
explained Cara Mertes, executive 
director of P.O.V. "The film is really a 
springboard for a wonderful partner- 
ship that can capitalize on the integrity 
attached to both Nightline and P.O.V." 

The collaboration begins January 
21, when (barring a major news event) 
Nightline will feature an episode-long 
preview of Two Towns of Jasper. The fol- 
lowing night, January 12. P.O.V. will 
air the film in its entirety. On January 
24, Nightline will air a forty-five minute 
version of the town hall meeting. 

"The events in Jasper, Texas, offer 
Nightline an opportunity to revisit an 
issue they haw already covered in- 



depth," says Mertes. Nightline followed 
closely both the murder of James Byrd 
Jr. and the trial and conviction of the 
three white assailants. Two Towns, a 
portrait of the racially divided city, 
was made during the trial. 

The collaboration between P.O.V. 
and Nightline is not the first between 
public television and a commercial 
broadcasting entity. According to 
Mertes, Frontline "did it during the 
Clinton years— but this is the first 
timeforP.O.V:" 

Public television advocates look 
skeptically at any link between public 
and commercial television, but Mertes 
is confident that such feelings are 
unnecessary. "Anyone wondering 
about | stich issues] only lias to look at 
how closely Nightline's mandate for 
public affairs programming lines up 
with P.O.V.'s goals. We are after I In- 
same things. We haw both retained 
complete editorial control [over our 
separate productions]; thai was never 
an issue." 

Aaron Krach is the arts alitor. it ( lay City 
News andThe Villager newspapers 



January/February 2003 | The Independent 9 



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ITVS Takes Helm 
of PBS Series 

A reworking of Independent Lens, the 
anthology series of independent films, 
will be unveiled by PBS and the 
Independent Television Service (ITVS) 
on February 4. "The one theme that 
defines the series," says Claire Aguilar, 
cocurator and ITVS director of pro- 
gramming, "is the vision of the inde- 
pendent filmmakers who passionately 
pursued stories and made programs 
that reflect an individual perspective." 

ITVS received a special grant 
from the Corporation for Public 
Broadcasting for the initial season. 
Lois Vossen, Independent Lens senior 
producer and cocurator, says ITVS is 
seeking corporate underwriters for 
future seasons and hopes to reach out 
to new sources of funding, "rather 
than going to foundations who typi- 
cally fund public TV." 

Independent Lens premieres with 
Maggie Growls, a documentary about 
activist Maggie Kuhn, founder of the 
Gray Panthers. Other shows this sea- 
son address such diverse topics as gay 
parenting and adoption (Daddy & 
Papa), resistance fighters in Nazi- 
occupied France (Sisters in Resistance), 
and one of the world's most famous 
female big wave surfers, Rell Sunn 
(Heart of the Sea: Kapolioka'ehukai). 

According to Cheryl Jones, 
senior director of PBS Program 
Development and Independent film, 
the series plans to provide the same 
kind of outreach as P. O. V., including 
material on the show's website, mar- 
keting, and publicity. 

The series will air Tuesday nights at 
10:00 p.m. through June 3. During the 
summer PBS's award-winning docu- 
mentary series P.O.V. will run in the 
same time slot. Independent Lens's fall 
season, featuring fifteen new episodes, 
will begin in September 2003. D 

For more information on Independent Lens, 
visit www.pbs.org. 

Charlie Sweitzer is a New York-based writer 
who interns at The Independent. 



10 The Independent | January/February 2003 



opinion 



Fight for Your Right 
to Public Domain Art 



By GiGi Sohn 



"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the 
shoulders of giants." — Sir Isaac Newton 

his famous quote by the 
renowned scientist and 
mathematician has a great 
deal of resonance for all 
artists, particularly as we move into the 
age of digital media. Sir Isaac recog- 
nized that his creative works— mathe- 
matical theorems and scientific inven- 
tions—were the product of many of the 
great works that he had studied. This is 



time ensuring the development of a 
robust public domain of information 
and ideas that could be shared and 
built upon, leading to even more cre- 
ativity and innovation. 

For many years, this cultural bargain 
worked well. Most American music post- 
1950 has its roots in other forms of 
music, particularly the blues, and many 
of our plays, films, and books are derived 
from earlier works. For example, West Side 
Story is Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet set 
in a different time and place. Thousands 



more costly to engage in their craft. (The 
first chapter of Lawrence Lessig's The 
Future of Ideas vividly recounts film direc- 
tor Davis Guggenheim's struggles to 
clear the rights to various works that are 
merely incidental to his films.) These 
initiatives include: 

Longer copyright terms 

Despite the Constitution's direction 
that copyright protections be "for lim- 
ited times," copyright terms have been 
extended eleven times in the past forty 
years. The latest extension came in 
1998 at the behest of the Walt Disney 
Company, which feared Mickey 
Mouse becoming part of the public 
domain in 2003. Whereas the first 
copyright term (established in 1790) 
was fourteen years plus a fourteen- 







Artistic works do not simply appear out of 
thin air-they are the result of many prior creative 
works that an artist sees or hears. 



also true of all the arts— visual arts, 
music, film, video, theater, dance, etc. 
Artistic works do not simply appear 
out of thin air— they are the result of 
many prior creative works that an artist 
sees or hears. In this way, our culture is 
like a garden— older plant matter is dug 
up and tilled, providing nourishment 
for the new seedlings yet to grow. 

The framers of our Constitution rec- 
ognized this principle when they draft- 
ed what is commonly known as the 
"Copyright Clause." The Copyright 
Clause gives Congress the power to 
"promote the progress of science and 
useful arts, by securing for limited 
times to authors and i mentors the 
exclusive right to their respective writ- 
ings and discoveries . . ." 

In using this language, the framers 
sought to strike a delicate balance. By 
giving artists and innovators a time- 
limited monopoly over their works, 
the framers wanted to encourage 
artists to create, while at the same 



of derivative works have been created 
from the Mona Lisa (see www.pipeline. 
com/~rabarib/MONALIST.hnTi for exam- 
ples). And a large number of Disney 
movies borrow from the public domain 
(Alice in Wonderland, The Little Mermaid, 
The Hunchback of Notre Dame, etc.). 

Unfortunately, for the past decade, 
this bargain has been under siege, 
thanks to a variety of political, techno- 
logical, and marketplace initiatives that 
seek to make access to scientific and 
artistic works either impossible or pro- 
hibitively expensive. Because we are in 
the "Information Age," the market value 
of information and its consequent cre- 
ative works has increased. This has 
resulted in a movement by the "copy- 
right industries" (largely the motion pic- 
ture, recording and book publishing 
industries) to keep much of it in private 
hands tor as long as possible. The con- 
sequence has been that creative artists in 
general, and video and filmmakers m 
particular, haw found ir harder and 



year renewal term, copyrights now 
extend to seventy years beyond the life 
of an author, or ninety-five years for 
corporations. 

Longer copyright terms shrink the 
public domain, making it harder for 
creative artists to borrow or build 
upon these works without having to 
pay licensing fees, assuming that they 
can even find out who holds the cops- 
right in the first place (copyright pro- 
tection applies automatically at the 
time of creation-no registration is 
needed). The increasing privatization 
of information and ideas has lead to 
strict (and sometimes silly) enforce- 
ment of the laws, resulting in numer- 
ous threats to digiral media artists ,\nd 
others whose works criticize and bor- 
row from cultural And corporate icons. 

Technology laws that limit 
access to and use of 
copyrighted works 

While the speed, ubiquity, And rela- 



January/February 2003 | The Independent 11 



I here is no film festival in the United States quite like it. All the filmmakers are 
brought into a packed house of enthusiastic, educated film goers. 
- Terry Allen Green, writer/director, Almost Salinas 

. . . Your festival stands out as a wholly effective one with a true concern for and focus 
upon its filmmakers and its public. - Adrienne Wehr, producer, The Bread, My Sweet 

It's visionary. 

It's groundbreaking. 

It'S CUttlftCJ m 0€§€JGm - John Anderson, Newsday 




KlffEQ 




8th Annual 

STONY BROOK FILM FESTIVAL 

JULY 1 6-26, 2003 

Staller Center for the Arts • Stony Brook University, Long Island, NY 

Competitions in 16mm and 35mm films including features, 
shorts, documentaries and animation. Largest venue 
(1 ,000+ seats) and film screen in the region (40 ft. wide). 
Over 14,000 attendees at the 2002 festival. 

For more information, call 631-632-7234 

or email filmfestival@stonybrookfilmfestival.com 

or write to: 

Stony Brook Film Festival 

Staller Center for the Arts 

Rm 2030A Stony Brook University 

Stony Brook, NY 1 1 794-5425 

Entry Deadline: April 15, 2003 
www.stonybrookfilmfestival.com 




2003 STONY BROOK 

FILM FESTIVAL 

JULY 16-26 



// ll ^ 




tively low cost of digital technologies 
present greater opportunities for 
artists to make their works available 
to a wider audience, they also present 
greater opportunities for the copy- 
right industries to limit access to and 
use of copyrighted works beyond what 
the law would allow. For example, 
copy protection on certain CD's do 
not permit them to be played on com- 
puters. Similarly, some online music 
and film services limit one's ability to 
burn files onto CD's, DVD's, or hard 
drives, and others simply cause the file 
to "disappear" after a specified time 
period. Copyright law does not permit 
a copyright holder to tell you how 
many times you can listen to or read 
content, for what length of time, or on 
what machine. But "techno-locks" 
permit those very limits. 

As if the technological locks them- 
selves were not enough, the Digital 
Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 
passed in 1998, ensures that these 
locks are backed with the force of law. 
Under the DMCA, it is unlawful to 
break or "circumvent" these locks, 
even if an individual's reason for 
doing so is otherwise lawful. Indeed, 
the first court case involving the 
DMCA concerned a Norwegian 
teenager who broke the technological 
lock on a DVD that he bought for the 
sole purpose of playing it on his 
Linux-operated computer. 

Techno-locks, backed by laws like the 
DMCA, have grave implications for cre- 
ative activity. Artists often need to study 
certain works over and over again, mod- 
ify and transform pieces of works, and 
play them on different devices. These 
mechanisms make artists' jobs not only 
harder, bur in some cases illegal. 

Replacing copyright law 
with contract law 

Another way that the copyright indus- 
tries seek to protect their works is 
through the use of so-called "end-user 
license agreements." These are the 
icons that you click on when trying to 
access software or other digital con- 



tent ("click-through licenses"), or the 
terms you agree to when breaking the 
shrink-wrap on your newest piece of 
software ("shrink-wrap licenses"). 
Without any negotiation, you are 
asked to waive rights reserved to you 
under the Copyright Act (such as "fair 
use") and agree to a list of restrictions, 
some of which can include a limita- 
tion on criticizing the work without 
the licensee's permission. 

In common law, one-sided con- 
tracts of this kind are called "con- 
tracts of adhesion." But in the digital 
era, these licenses are used to extend 
the rights of copyright holders 
beyond that which is permitted by 
law. Like techno-locks, these licenses 
can and do limit modification, 
excerpting, portability, and repeated 
access to content. As such, they can 
chill creative activity. 

In premodern England, the landed 
classes convinced the Parliament to 
take grazing lands that had been 
used commonly by everyone and 
"enclose" them for gentry's private 
benefit. Today, a second enclosure 
movement is occurring as the copy- 
right industries seek the help of 
Congress and new technologies to 
privatize and shrink the public 
domain. The impact of this enclosure 
is already being felt by educators, sci- 
entific researchers, librarians, com- 
puter programmers, ordinary com- 
puter users, and by the full range of 
creative artists. The good news is that 
many of these groups, backed by 
members of the information technol- 
ogy, consumer electronics, and inter- 
net service provider industries, are 
beginning to fight back, and policy- 
makers are beginning to take notice. 
We at Public Knowledge invite you to 
join this effort to defend and fortify 
the public domain. 

For more information, log on to 
www.publicknowledge.org. 

Gig li Sohn is president and cofounder of 
Public Knowledge, a nonprofit that Addresses 
the public V stake in the convergence of commu- 
nications policy and intellectual property law. 



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profile 



Your Computer 
and Civil Liberties 

SHARI STEELE: ELECTRONIC 
FRONTIER FOUNDATION 

By Patricia R. Zimmermann 



If you think your desktop com- 
puter is simply a machine for 
word processing, e-mail, and 
digital video editing, you've been 
duped. It's also a social construct that 
has the potential to delete your free- 
dom of speech, right to privacy, and 
civil liberties. "Most people just are 
not paying attention," argues Shari 
Steele, the passionate, clear-headed 
executive director of the Electronic 
Frontier Foundation. 

Often dubbed "the ACLU of elec- 
tronic civil liberties," the Electronic 
Frontier Foundation (EFF) was 
formed in 1990 as an advocacy group 
for civil liberties in cyberspace. It pro- 
tects, defends, and educates us about 
civil liberties issues as they relate to 
technology. It investigates how law 
and technology intersect, making the 
often invisible digital invasions into 
our lives visible. 

EFF has challenged both the US 
government and major corporations 
in court, and it is one of the major 
advocates for peer-to-peer (P2P) file 
sharing. Steele contends that P2P file 
sharing will be a boon to independent 
media producers, who can use these 
technologies to bypass distributors. 
"The large media companies package, 
distribute, and market content— P2P 
technologies make these services 
inconsequential," Steele notes. "The 
corporate reaction has been to kill off 
technologies that don't have scarcity 
in order to create scarcity; for exam- 
ple, licensing and HDTV." 

But the EFF's first suit was filed 
against the United States Secret 
Service. In 1990, the Secret Service 



conducted raids to track the illegal 
distribution of emergency 911 infor- 
mation (called E911) from a Bell 
South computer. They then confiscat- 
ed the computers of game publisher 
Steve Jackson, accessing and deleting 
e-mails. Concerned about incursions 
into his freedom to publish, the 
privacy rights of his users, and the 
destruction of his business, Jackson 
posted his concerns on the Whole 




Earth 'Lectronic Link (www.well.com). 

Jackson's posts caught the attention 
of Mitch Kapor (Lotus Development 
Corporation), John Perry Barlow (lyri- 
cist for the Grateful Dead), and John 
Gilmore (an early employee of Sun 
Microsystems). Together, they decided 
to launch a lawsuit against the Secret 
Service based on the violations of 
Jackson's civil liberties. At the same 
time, they founded the Electronic 
Frontier Foundation to investigate 
how new technologies impact First 
Amendment rights and civil liberties. 

In 1991, Steele, who had originally 
intended to become a law professor 
and First Amendment specialist, was 
looking for a job. She spotted an ad 
for a staff attorney for EFF in tin- 



Georgetown law school. She was hired 
to work on cases out of Washington, 
DC. The world wide web and the prac- 
tice of cyberspace law did not yet exist 
as they do today. In the early years, 
from 1991 to 1993, Steele worked on 
system operator liability (applied to 
entities like AOL and CompuServe) 
and encryption issues, particularly the 
right to control your own technology. 

By 1993, according to Steele, elec- 
tronic civil liberties issues shifted when 
the world wide web entered a graphic 
cyberscape and usage skyrocketed. 
Propelling online shopping and site 
surfing, the web raised issues about 
users' privacy rights as their data circu- 
lated on networked computers. "Privacy 
is a huge issue in digital media," Steele 
explains. "The amount of information 
corporations are able to collect is 
immense. And they believe they own it." 
What you browse on the web may seem 
innocuous, but it leaves a trail of infor- 
mation allowing corporations to do pre- 
cision pinpoint marketing. 

"New technologies create new issues 
for civil liberties," Steele points out. 
The Napster case in 2000 underscores 
this point. As a P2P network, Napster 
facilitated file sharing. Copyright 
holders were up in arms, according to 
Steele, because users were able to share 
music, download, and create mixes of 
copyrighted material. 

Over the last few years, because of 
P2P cases such as Napster and 
Gnutela, copyright has emerged as a 
major electronic civil liberties issue. 
Steele views copyright as a question of 
balance between copyright holders 
and users. "How much control do 
copyright holders need to have?" 
queries Steele. "How evil is it to make 
a copy? Do we call all college students 
criminals?" 

Universal vs. Remeirdes is ,i ease m 
point. In November of 1999, the com- 
puter magazine 2600 published a news 

Shari Steele, executive director of the 
Electronic Frontier Foundation, the ACLU 
of electronic civil liberties. 



January/February 2003 | The Independent 15 




story about the debate around DVD 
encryption, reporting on the encrypt- 
ed source code. The entertainment 
industry had licensed DVD encryption 
to Microsoft, but not to Linux. The 
DeCSS code created open source code 
that would allow users to run their 
lawfully purchased DVD's on Linux 
operating systems. In January 2000 
Universal Studios, seven other studios, 
and the Motion Picture Association of 
America filed suit against 2600, argu- 
ing media piracy. EFF filed briefs in 
support of the defendants. In July 
2002, the case concluded in favor of 
the plaintiffs. EFF decided against 
going to the Supreme Court, but cau- 
tioned that future cases will determine 
how to solve the problems created by 
the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. 

Since September 11, and the gov- 
ernment's ensuing "war on terror," 
EFF has tracked an increase in attacks 
on civil liberties, with high levels of 
surveillance and disposal of checks 
and balances on reporting findings 
from digital surveillance back to the 
courts. "The USA Patriot Act gave the 
government huge power," cautions 
Steele. "If you are on the web research- 
ing Al Qaeda, you will be surveilled." 

The new Department of Homeland 
Security plan connects all government 
databases, even though this consolida- 
tion of information and data is 
expressly prohibited by the Privacy Act 
of 1973, Steele warns. The Carnivore 
and Echelon programs— massive digi- 
tal surveillance systems— will also be 
authorized. Yet, as a result of govern- 
ment blackouts on how these systems 
actually operate, no one really under- 
stands their capacities for abuse. 

Because the average person consid- 
ers his or her computer a harmless 
tool rather than a threat, Steele urges 
the non-techie to be armed with a set 
of electronic civil liberties advisories 
to begin dispelling misconceptions. 

First, all new technologies raise 
speech and civil liberties issues. 
Second, although new technologies 
often distribute new powers, they may 



not keep the balance between users 
and technology producers equal. "The 
way things were done previously is not 
always the right way when dealing 
with new technologies," Steele says. 

Third, be forewarned that the 
United States government is not nec- 
essarily the only threat to electronic 
civil liberties. Corporations are also 
pushing for greater control over tech- 
nology, data, and code. 

Steele is a woman with mission: to 
clearly explain the high stakes of elec- 
tronic civil liberties and to mobilize 
the general public to see beyond and 
through their computer screens. 
Knowing the mediamaker readership 
of The Independent, Steele pushed an 
idea for a muckraking independent 
documentary: an expose of peer-to- 
peer technologies from the point of 
view of the user, rather than the enter- 
tainment companies who squelched 
the technology as a haven for criminal 
activity. "Why are users doing it? 
What's going on? What's the attrac- 
tion?" she queries. 

Steele and EFF refuse to take com- 
puters, networks, or emerging tech- 
nologies at face value. Instead, like the 
media project idea she imagines, she 
turns the tables in digital space from 
the power of corporations and govern- 
ments to the rights of users— a neces- 
sary and urgent task. C 

Electronic Frontier Foundation (www.eff.org) 
offers an extensive, detailed archive of elec- 
tronic civil liberties issues, legal cases, briefs, 
and news updates on electronic civil liberties 
issues ranging from copyright, privacy, freedom 
of speech, encryption, and more. 

Chilling Effects Clearinghouse 
(www.chillingeffects.org) a joint project of 
EFF, Stanford, Harvard, Berkeley, and the 
Universities of San Francisco and of Maine 
Law Schools explains, in clear language, pro- 
tections to the First Amendment and intellec- 
tual property in online activity. It also includes 
a searchable database of cease-and-desist 
letters. 

Patricia R. Zimmermann is professor 

of cinema and photography at Ithaca 

College. She is the author of 'Reel Families: 

A Social History of Amateur Film 

and States of Emergency: 

Documentaries, Wars, Democracies. 



16 The Independent | January/February 2003 



field report 



Honolulu, Hawaii 

FESTIVAL SURFING, ALOHA, AND ADVOCACY 

By Susan Diane Freel 



Hawaii International 
Film Festival 

The twenty-two-year-old Hawaii Inter- 
national Film Festival (HIFF) is an 
ambitious statewide event that screens 
Films and demonstrates the spirit of 
Aloha, the spirit of inchision. The festi- 
val features 200 Films over ten days at a 




wide variety of venues, from a beach to 
a symphony hall, on a total of Five 
1 (awaiian islands, starting with Oahu. 

Appropriately enough, the screen- 
ing for this year's Golden Maile 
Special Award winner, Charlotte 
Lagarde and Lisa Denker's documen- 
tary, Heart of the Sea: Kapolioka'ehukai, 
about Hawaiian female surfing legend 
Roll Sunn, was held on the beach at 
Waikiki while the Pacific slapped the 

Hawaiian surfing legend Rell Sunn is 
the subject of Lisa Denker's Heart of 
the Sea: Kapolioka'ehukai. 



shore, and a "blessing," or gentle 
Hawaiian misting rain, fell on the 
crowd. But not only was Sunn the 
surfer known as the Queen of 
Makaha, she was also a woman who 
died at the age of forty-seven from 
recurring breast cancer, contracted 
when she was thirty-two, possibly 
linked to DDT spraying on Oahu. At a 
festival where at almost any time you 
may Find the hula being danced in the 
pressroom, it's easy to be distracted 
from the vital Pacific Rim stories by 
the PaciFic Rim itself. 

"We need help in Hawaii because 
we're really marginalized ... by being 
mistaken only as sun and fun," says 
documentarian Tom Coffman, whose 
film Arirang: The Korean American 
Journey, about the emigration of 
Korean families to Hawaii, screened as 
part of HIFF's celebration of the hun- 
dredth anniversary of the arrival of the 
First Koreans in the state. "We're really 
struggling to get taken seriously by 
something as simple as PBS . . . Our 
basic problem is that the world of tele- 
vision networks, and so on, revolves 
around an Atlantic-facing East Coast. 
People just think of this as exotic, but 
hey, it's real. We're real people out 
here. We're real people, and we are 
unique in many ways, in terms of the 
way the cultures have come together 
here." 

Hawaii International Film Festival 
(808) 528-3456; www.hiff.org 



Oahu's Film Ohana (Family)- 
Olelo's Children 

The more you mingle with Oahu's 
ohana (or "family") ol filmmakers, the 
clearer the influence o\ 'Olelo, the 

island's public access station, becomes. 
Meaning "to speak" or "to communi- 
cate" in Hawaiian, Olelo is a home lor 



local beginning and experienced film- 
makers. The facility offers classes, 
resources, and equipment, from cam- 
eras to editing bays, to all Oahu resi- 
dents. Borrowing equipment is free, 
and beginning classes range from $35 
to $55. The only condition for equip- 
ment use is that you air whatever you 
shoot on 'Olelo once. "The only thing 
you ever pay for is your own tape stock," 
explains Meredith Nichols, outreach 
coordinator for 'Olelo. "1 tell people to 
think of it like a public library." 

When Oceanic Cablevision bought 
the Hawaii cable television franchise, 
the state's department of Commerce 
and Consumer Affairs negotiated a deal 
that is the envy of many public access 
stations across the country. Public 
access channels, run by nonprofit 
media centers, are paid for but nor con- 
trolled by the cable franchises on each 
of the islands. "We are funded com- 
pletely through Oceanic Cablevision. 
One hundred percent. No taxpayer dol- 
lars. It's now Time Warner Oceanic 
Cable, but the franchise agreement is 
still solid," Nichols says. 'Olelo boasts 
five twenty-four-hour channels. 

Former pro surfer Daniel M. Skaf, 
currently an MIA candidate in film 
production at Chapman University in 
Orange Count}', California, not only 
learned to use a camera at 'Olelo, he 
found a calling. "I discovered my pas- 
sion," declares Skaf, whose second 
documentary. The Birthing of losepa, 
screened at I 111 I this war A\td is soon 
to be aired on Direct TV. "It all started 
at 'Olelo," he says. 

Leah Kihara, Hill Aloha .Airlines 

winner for / Scream, Floats and Sundays, 
is a special-projects manager at ( )lelo 
"It's kind of like being in film school 
again, because we all grew up on e.n h 
other's projects. We don't mind sural 
ing it out for nothing. It's |us[ refresh 
ing working with each other, general 
ing ideas. anA then seeing it made 
she says. "It's not iust \:ood friends, 

but it's people I totally respect as 
workers as well." 

"Myself! ' made my film on the help 



January/ February 2003 




of a lot of friends, and a lot of people 
were very generous," echoes Kamuela 
Kaneshiro, whose $700, fifty-four- 
minute film about Dante's Inferno, 
R.E.M., also screened at HIFF. "We shot 
it in fourteen mostly six-hour days, 



twelve to twenty setups a day. 1 got 
everybody who had time to come out 
to work . . . We had the people doing 
what they do for Jurassic Park and Pearl 
Harbor [but it was] for my project, out 
of the kindness of their hearts." 

'Olelo Community Television 
main facility; there are additional 
satellite locations. 
(808) 834-0007; www.olelo.org 



'Ohina Short Film Showcase 

While HIFF does present local work 
under the umbrella of the Hawaii 
Panorama screenings, in 1999 Jeff 
Katts and his boss at Pacific Focus, 
Jason Suapaia, decided they wanted a 
little more. They wanted a venue 
where local, independent, short film- 
makers could take themselves and 
their films seriously. The result was a 
weekend of shorts every October at 
the Academy of Arts Doris Duke 
Theatre, called the 'Ohina Short Film 



Showcase. 

"'Ohina is a Hawaiian word that 
means the coming together or gather- 
ing," Katts explains. What started as 
friends asking friends if they wanted 
to show their films has become an 
international event. "Our slogan when 
we started was 'join the gathering.' 
Now it's 'short films done by Hawaii's 
hottest filmmakers,'" says Katts. 

It's their fourth year. They're non- 
profit. And they've become the first- 
time showcase for many local projects, 
several in this year's HIFF Hawaii 
Panorama, including Forgotten Promise, 
by Ryan Kawamoto, The Procastinators, 
directed by Shawn Hiatt, and Kahira's 
I Scream, Floats and Sundays. 

"I gave myself five years," says Katts, 
"because I wanted to see it grow, then 
have somebody else try to nurture it. It 
will still keep going, no matter what." 

Hawaii's short film fans flock to the 
'Ohina shorts showcase every October. 



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When Katts leaves, after next October's 
'Ohina Short Film Showcase, it will be to 
start an entertainment company plan- 
ned to have a similar scope to Dream- 
works, with independent projects in 
film, television, music, and theater. 

'Ohina Short Film Showcase 
Jeff Katts & Jason Suapaia 
(808)593-8848; www.pacfocus.com 



The 'O Files-Jackie Burke 

"'0. That's a word. That's a Hawaiian 
word. It means to dig, to pierce, to 
break through," says Jackie Burke, 
executive producer of The '0 Files, an 
independent half-hour Hawaiian lan- 
guage series that began airing 
December 1, 2002, on KIKU, Oahu's 
Channel 9. "It's a magazine format 
using the Hawaiian language, with 
subtitles either in English or 
Hawaiian. Because we can't come to 
events and always expect a native 
speaker . . . we translate into Hawaiian 
. . . then we have two or three spots in 
the show where we have native speak- 
ers and we subtitle in English. KIKU is 
a multicultural station. It has Korean, 
Japanese, Samoan, Filippino, and 
they're dying to have Hawaiian," 
explains Burke. "It's a regular station, 
so we can sell ads. On, 'Olelo, we're 
restricted to being nonprofit." 

The '() Files is part of Burke's devel- 

A modern day Dante's Inferno, Kamuela 
Kaneshiro's R.E.M. screened at HIFF. 




opment of the Native Hawaiian 
Multimedia Network, which includes 
a newspaper, TV show, radio show, 
and website. 

Besides fundraising and writing 
grants for arts and culture, Burke's 
other project, The Sovereignty Bus, or 
Ka'a Ea in Hawaiian, is a mobile multi- 
media project devoted to raising aware- 
ness of the issue of Hawaiian sovereign- 
ty. "What it's doing is educating the 
choices of independence or dependence 
for the Hawaiian community, because 
we have to make those choices," Burke 
explains. The bus will travel through 
Hawaii and down the West Coast, col- 
lecting opinions from Hawaiians on 
sovereignty. Eventually the findings will 
be driven across the US. "[We'll be] 
stopping at other Indian nations, ask- 
ing them to join our caravan, as we go 
to Washington, DC, to deliver our out- 
comes. 

"Is that a film or what?" Burke 
laughs. "The buses will have the art- 
work of the creation chants on them. 
On top of that will be . . . our four 
main gods, which are male gods. My 
friend is a director of Hawaiian stud- 
ies, and she said, 'Now, where are the 
female gods?' I said, 'In the bus, of 
course, where they always haw been. " 

The 'O Files 

Ka'a Ea-Sovereignty Bus Project 

Jackie Burke, producer/CEO 

The 'Oiwi Foundation 

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Pacific Islanders in Communications: 
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pose is to increase national public broad- 
cast programming by and about indige- 
nous Pacific Islanders. 
Carlyn L Tani, executive director 
(808) 591-0059 
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www.zangpictures.com 


3 

LU 



Hawaii Digital Entertainment 
(808) 561-5749 
www.lovelife.com/HDE 12 



Sue Freel is a filmmaker and a special-project 

coordinator for ATVF, in postproduction on her 

documentary We All Represent 

Kailua High. 

Rell Sunn rides the waves. 



20 The Independent | January/February 2003 



doc do 



Ask the 
Documentary Doctor 

WHEN AND HOW DO YOU BRING OTHERS INTO 
YOUR PROJECT? 

By Fernanda Rossi 




Dear Doc Doctor: 
After having shot 
on my own for 
two years, I'm 
not only exhaust- 
ed but also have 
jftE lost perspective 
^^^ on the best way 
to approach the story of my documen- 
tary. Will teaming up with a producer 
help me find some balance? 

If you are doing everything yourself, 
you are probably overworking both 
sides of the brain, the left-organiza- 
tional side and the right-creative side. 
It's not easy to switch back and forth. 



Chris Hegedus. But two pairs of eyes 
don't necessarily see more; sometimes 
they see double. Input, opinions, and 
new perspectives should be welcomed 
for the good health of your project, 
whether coming from your producer, 
mentor, editor, or a smart friend, but 
this should be done in moderation 
and with a clear understanding of the 
role of that person. 

If you feel lost, though, don't resort 
to a second or third party's opinion 
right away. It may be time to stop and 
take some time off to think. Asking 
someone for direction often leads to 
asking everyone. Gathering many 



The most important quality to consider when 
choosing such traveling companions is that 
they are people skilled at he/ping you. 



One minute you have to be efficient, 
scheduling five interviews in a day, 
and the next minute you have be cre- 
ative, coming up with 100 interesting 
questions. Can you solve an equation 
and write poetry at the same time? 

Eventually the daily demands of 
production take over and the creative 
aspects of filmmaking are set aside or 
postponed until you have to confront 
them while editing. Bringing a pro- 
ducer on board is a good way to light- 
en up your left-brain load and free the 
right side to do its magic. 

That's why partnerships are an 
inspiring way to approach any creative 
endeavor. You will find successful 
examples throughout the history of 
filmmaking, such as the Maysles 
brothers or D.A. Pennebaker and 



opinions will certainly lead to making 
a film, some film, most likely not your 
film. Limiting the amount of people 
you talk to about your film to one or 
two can relieve some of your creative 
anxiety while bringing the benefits of 
a fresh eye. 

The most important quality to con- 
sider when choosing such traveling 
companions is that they're people 
skilled at helping you. If you are con- 
stantly having miscommunications 
with the person you have chosen to 
bring into your project, or if you find 
yourself constantly at odds, this is not 
a fruitful collaboration. They may well 
be trying to make their own film 
through you. In whatever capacity 
they are working with you. and what- 
ever their credentials may be, the peo- 



ple you choose to work with should be 
bringing positive energy and insight 
to the project. One easy way to tell if 
the input is productive is if your gut 
reaction to their suggestions is "ah 
ha," rather than "oh no." 

Being clear about who has the final 
say is also very important. And making 
sure that others understand that turn- 
ing an idea down is not a reflection of 
your appreciation for their work can 
save you and them much heartache. 

If you keep the communication chan- 
nels open with regular meetings and 
honest dialogue, you will not only make 
a great film because you will get the best 
out of your team, you will also create 
life-long, meaningful relationships. 

Dear Doc Doctor: 

My editor and I have been going in 
circles for four months now with the 
same one-hour cut. I'm thinking of 
firing him. How much do I lose by 
starting over with someone else? 
Stalling in the cutting room is usually 
a sign of creative blockage, not of edit- 
ing incompetence. Had you hired 
someone who is not up to the task, 
you would have known the first week, 
not the fourth month. If the problems 
really have been going on for months, 
you should have let your editor go a 
long time ago. But if you replace your 
editor with someone else, don't be sur- 
prised to find yourself in the same sit- 
uation four months from now. 

A creative block will make even the 
two most talented people hit dead ends 
time and again until the frustration 
inevitably turns them against each 
other. If you are thinking of firing your 
editor as a result of such frustration. I 
can assure you he or she has been 
thinking of quitting for a long time. 

Going in circles makes everybody 
dizzy, so rather than killing the mes- 
senger, I would suggest you ponder 
the following: How do you feel about 
finishing your film? Sure, we all say we 
want to be done with it. but take a few 
minutes to think about it, Are you 
overly concerned about how it will be 



January/February 2003 | The Independent 21 



Tape-to-Fi In Transfer 



Fi I m-to-Tape Transfer 



You 



shoot 




received? Or is it that you don't know 
(or know too well) what it takes to dis- 
tribute your documentary and there- 
fore prefer to hide in the darkness of 
the edit room? 

If you don't have any fears about the 
future of your documentary, the cre- 
ative block might be alive and well in 
the present. Are you and your editor 
making the same film? Sometimes 
valuable time is wasted in a power 
struggle to see who gets to tell the 
story. At times it becomes the editor's 
version, other times it looks more like 
the film you dreamed of, and some- 
times it is somewhere in between. This 
in-between compromise doesn't make 
anybody happy either. 

Along the same lines, trying a new 
approach to assembling the film every 
week— even when in total agreement 
with your editor— and not finishing 
the film is a safe way to avoid dealing 
with narrative problems. The lure of 
this trap is that it is dangerously dis- 
guised as work. 

Take some time off from the edit 
room and discuss with your editor, 
mentor, or coach— once again, if nec- 
essary—the story you have in mind. 
Commit to follow a plan to bring that 
story to fruition, even if your editor 
thinks it is a waste of time. Maybe he 
or she is right, but once you see it with 
your own eyes, it will be easier to let go 
and try a new approach rather than 
engaging in a power struggle that 
alienates both of you. 

Even if things seem unsalvageable, 
smoothing over the wrinkles with 
your editor will be easier and take less 
time than starting all over. And if, in 
the end, the process was just too 
painful, you can work with a different 
editor on your next project, which you 
will only get to do if you finish your 
current one. □ 

Want to ask the Doc Doctor a question? Write 
to her at info@documentarydoctor.com. 

Fernanda Rossi is a filmmaker and 

script/documentary doctor. She also leads 

AIVF's Documentary Dialogues 

discussion group. For more info, visit 

www.documentarydoctor.com 



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site seeing 



Transcending Borders 

ROM ONLINE BUILDS COMMUNITY STORYTELLING 



By Maya Churi 



The first and perhaps most 
exciting part of making a 
film is coming up with an 
inspired idea. This idea or 
concept is usually quickly translated 
into a storytelling genre— fiction, doc- 
umentary, or experimental— for the big 
screen. The writer or filmmaker then 
follows a difficult though well-traveled 
road: writing a script, seeking out 
funding, hiring actors, shooting the 
film, editing, and eventually exhibiting 
it. But when the idea happens to be for 
a moving-image website, the process is 
different and not as clearly marked as 
for a film or video. 

PBS's nonfiction film series, P.O.V., 
has taken the bold step of producing a 
web-only documentary series. In 
searching for a theme for the website, 
Cara Mertes, executive producer of 
P.O.V., wanted to focus on a subject 
that was ripe in today's media-driven 
climate and was also something that 
has the ability to build community 




through storytelling. What she came 
up with was the concept of borders. 
"For this series, we have conceived of 
borders as a transitional state between 
one thing and the next, whether that is 
physical, like the borders 
between countries and 
states, or experiential, like 
the border between health 
and illness or being young 
and old," Mertes points out. 
"There are borders every- 
where, including online, 
where there are borders of 
language, access, activity, 
and so on. But the web is 
also particularly good at 
breaking down borders. 
Friendships, alliances, and 
communities now exist as 
they could nowhere else. It 
is in this entirely new set of relation- 
ships that we want to situate Borders as 
a storytelling model." 

Knowing that a project's final desti- 
nation is the web changes the way you 
develop the idea from the beginning. If 
using film or video on the site, one has 
to go through all the steps that are 
necessary when making a traditional 
film, but, in addition, one must figure 
out how the design and organization 
of the website will enhance the story 
that is being told. "[We] sketched our 
goals, including exploring what a 
showcase for interactive nonfiction 
storytelling would look like. We had a 
group of consultants working with us 
come up with content ideas, naviga- 
tional schemes, and design elements," 
Mertes explains. "All content had to be 
organized around questions of tech- 
nological access, interactive story- 
telling, dnd generating involvement on 
the parr ot site users. \\V tried to inte- 
grate the idea of fluidity and motion 



with the website design, as well as find 
ways to promote interactivity. We 
wanted the site to suggest that it is 
alive, and much like life, constantly 
changing and responding to input." 

The first installment of the borders- 
themed series focuses on physical bor- 
ders, primarily the one between the 
US and Mexico. The website is divided 
into five interactive sections on the 
subject. The main component is the 
Stories section, which features an 



Where will you wind up 

when you start crossing borders 



www.pbs.org/pov/borders/ 






ng Elsa 



interactive drama entitled Leaving Elsa. 
The ten-part series follows the lives of 
three teenage students from the bor- 
der town of Elsa, Texas, as chey cross 
personal experiential borders. Cecilia 
is in her second year at Columbia 
University and struggles to find the 
finances to get herself through school. 
Kate is heading off for her first year of 
college in Boston, and Gilbert, a sen- 
ior in high school, tries to figure out 
what his next step in life will be. The 
students submit weekly video diaries 
where they discuss the events going on 
m their lives. Each entry is available to 
the audience via video, audio, or text. 
The multiple formats give everyone 
(those with high-speed or slow unci 
net connections) the ability to partici- 
pate in the story. 
Film and mediamaker Bernardo 

Above: Borders home page. Left: 
Leaving Elsa's Gilbert Perales at 
Edcouch-Elsa High School. 



January/February 200 ■'■• I ' 25 




TONY BURNS 

Director of Photography 





# 



INDEPENDENT FEATURES 
COMMERCIALS, MUSIC VIDEOS 




Ruiz, who was com- 
missioned to produce 
Leaving Elsa, was excited 
by the idea of creating an 
interactive drama from 
the ground up. "Cara's 
idea was to create an 
original documentary 
series— an experiment, 
really— that would inte- 
grate the technology of 
the 'net beyond simply 
utilizing streaming video 
and HTML web pages. I 
think that many traditional media- 
makers and documentarians look at 
web-based projects as limiting. With 
Borders, I found the exact opposite. I 
found the limitations of the new media 
environment tremendously liberating." 
A good example of the multifaceted 
look at interactive storytelling that 
Borders experiments with is the 
Snapshots section of the site. In this 
section, viewers are asked, "What are 
the borders in your life?" and are 
encouraged to submit their own snap- 
shot of what their meditations, reflec- 
tions, and ideas about borders are. 
One can submit a video, a poem, essay, 
or anything they feel reflects their per- 
ceptions of borders. Currently, Alex 
Rivera's short videos Love on the Line 
and Visible Border axe featured in the 
section. Love on the Line tells the story 
of a man who travels to the US/Mexico 
border to have lunch with his wife and 
child. Neither are able to cross without 
consequences. As we watch them visit 
through a fence on the beach, one 
can't help but make the comparison to 
visiting an inmate in prison. Who is in 
jail, though, is left to be determined. 
The video is a profound example of 
what borders are and how they affect 
people. "We worked hard to find a spe- 
cific story with universal elements to 
it, so people have been interested in 
the site for many reasons," Mertes 
states, "Everyone has the experience of 

Bernardo Ruiz, film and mediamaker, 
was commissioned to produce Leaving 
Elsa. 




crossing borders of one kind or other, 
and while people that have had the 
direct experience of crossing the 
US/Mexico border as immigrants 
respond to the story more directly, the 
story transcends that context and 
reaches people of all ages and back- 
grounds." 

The idea of borders, though, is an 
increasingly conceptual one. As we 
move towards globalization, free 
trade, faster airplanes, the ability to 
physically travel around the world in 
forty-eight hours, and in just a few 
seconds via cyberspace, one has to 
wonder how much borders impact 
our lives today. P.O.V. makes it abun- 
dantly clear that though many bor- 
ders may be breaking down, they con- 
tinue in many forms, including 
online. Ruiz explains that one of the 
most significant borders he had to 
cross in making this project for the 
web was getting over the idea that a 
documentary or narrative should be a 
certain way. "Ironically, creating a 
web-based project is a lot like having a 
hybrid identity. There are no rules, 
and you have both the freedom and 
the risks to create as you go along." 
The next border to cross, Mertes 
points out, is to "create a sustainable 
model for an ongoing web showcase. 
We will be launching a second episode 
in the spring of 2003, and that will 
contain many of the same features, 
with different content." O 

Maya Churi is a writer/ filmmaker working on a 
web narrative about a gated Texas community. 



26 The Independent | January/February 2003 



funder faq 



Native American Public 
Telecommunications 



Jason Guerrasio interviews Penny Costello 



What is Native American Public 
Telecommunications? 

NAPT is one of five minority consortia 
funded through the public television 
system. We foster and cultivate the 
production of content by and about 
Native Americans. 

When and why did it start? 

NAPT has been in business for twenty- 
five years. We work with Native American 
producers and writers to help them to 
produce content for broadcast on public 
television. Our mission is to give an 
authentic voice to what people see on 
television about Native Americans. 

How many projects do you fund on 
average each year? 

We narrow it down to five or six proj- 
ects that we recommend for funding, 
and eventually we negotiate the fund- 
ing contract with the producers. 
There are also times when we fund a 
series of small short films. This year 
Voices from Indian Country developed 
out of a grant cycle when we were able 
to do this in the middle of the year. 
Occasionally we will do specialized 
calls for proposals in addition to our 
annual open round for full-length 
features. 

What's the open call deadline? 

The deadline for submissions is Jul)' 1. 

What is the average size of a grant? 
This past year ir was around a quartet 
to a half-million dollars. 

How many submissions do you 

receive annually? 

On average about twenty-five proposals. 

What types of projects do you seek? 
Usually documentary projects. His- 



torically we haven't gotten into dra- 
matic or narrative projects, but we 
consider any proposal submitted for 
the open call. We've had some propos- 
als [that were on the] verge of the 



Does the NAPT have other calls for 
projects during the year? 

Yes, if there's money left over in our 
program. For example, if the total 
amount of the grant wasn't used up by 
projects that came in through the 
open call, then we may be able to allo- 
cate those funds to a different grant. 
We also have developed a revolving 
deadline for a finishing fund grant. 
This is for projects that are really at the 
point where they need no more than 




dramatic genre. While those types of 
projects haven't been funded yet, I 
wouldn't say they never would be. 

Take me through the review process. 
We collect all the proposals. Then we 
pull together a panel of Native studies 
scholars, television producers, and 
writers— people who can look at the 
proposals from various points of 
view— SO the projects meet a standard 
of authenticity and representation of 
the Native American experience. 

Can applicants reapply if denied? 
With the open call, yes. Typically if 
someone is rejected at that time, we are 
happy to provide either the viewers' 
comments or some kind of con- 
structive critique that will help them 
develop their proposal so that it's 
stronger. 



$25,000 to be totally finished. Another 
way we fund projects outside of the 
open call process is to fund some that 
are in the development stage, when 
they need script development or 
research and development. Also proj- 
ects we have previously funded cm 
come back to us with an updated pro- 
posal for production funds at any 
rime. They don't have to go m the 
open call. 

How do you prefer a filmmaker to 

submit a project to you? 

We provide a set of guidelines and an 

application form. It tells them what 
the proposal needs, such as video tape 
samples or work samples. I or example. 

the finishing funds projects require 

The Native American spirit is captured in 
Tula Goenka's Dancing on Mother Earth. 



January/February 2003 | The Independent 27 




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documentation of who the 
other current funders are, to 
document that the amount 
of money that is being 
requested from us is indeed 
the last money needed to 
complete the project. 
Sometimes people give us 
way too much. When they 
don't follow what's asked 
for in the guidelines, we may 
or may not choose to pass it 
on to our reviewers. I think the proj- 
ects that closely follow what's laid out 
in the guidelines are easier for us to 
distribute. People should keep in mind 
that if we get twenty-five projects in 
and we've got five or six people that 

Left: Chief Mountain Hotshots hone 
their saws in Fire Wariors. Right: 
Cameras are set up to shoot a 
powwow for the two-part program 
Native Americans in the 21st Century. 




need to look at all these proposals, we 
want applicants to feel that they've 
done their project justice in their 
descriptions. But a lot of times they'll 
go overboard in terms of sending us 
copies of newspaper articles that have 
been written, and that kind of stuff. 
Sometimes letters of support are help- 
ful, but you can go overboard with 
that too. My best advice is to just 
follow the guidelines as closely as 
possible. 



What has been the distribution/exhi- 
bition path of past projects? 

A project may spend a year or so trav- 
eling around the country to festivals 
before it actually gets to television. 
Sometimes it may go to television 
first. It all depends on the project 
and what it's been submitted to and 
where it's been accepted. One exam- 
ple is a project that we cofunded 
with Oregon Public Broadcasting 
called Rocks With Wings. It's been cov- 




January/February 2003 | The Independent 29 



Athens 




International 

Film & 

Video 

Festival 

April 25-May 1,2003 

Call for Entries 

Deadline February 14, 2003 

phone: 
740-593-1330 

P.O. 

Box 

388 
Athens 

Ohio 
45701 

m 




Ohio Arts Untnctl 



Entries on the web at: 

www.Athensfest.org 



Native American Public 
Teiecommunications 

1 800 N. 33rd St. 
Lincoln, NE 68583 
(Tel) 402-472-3522 
(Fax) 472-8675 
www.nativetelecom.org 

Staff: 

Frank Blythe, executive director 
Carol Cornsilk, director of 

production & programming 
Penny Costello, project coordinator 
Mary Ann Koehler, 

business manager 

The Slate: 

Fire Warriors, prod. Darren Kipp 
(early 2003) 

Dancing on Mother Earth, prod. 
Tula Goenka (fall 2003) 

Seasoned with Spirit, prod. Lily 
Shangreaux (winter-spring 2003) 

Trudell: The Lives and Words of 
John Trudell, prod. Heather Rae 
(August 2003) 



ering the country on the film festival 
circuit and has created quite a fol- 
lowing. At the same time, The Great 
American Foot Race was finished in 
August and hit the airwaves in 
November. It's been seen at two film 
festivals so far. 

What distinguishes NAPT from other 
funders? 

I think our longevity. Also, our mis- 
sion to cultivate and create authentic 
Native American content and, in the 
process, help develop the skills of 
Native producers who are accom- 
plished as well as those who are just 
emerging. There are different entities 
within the Public Broadcasting 
System that offer those services as 
well, but we've been dedicated to the 
Native community, to Indian Country 



Musician and activist, John Trudell is 
the subject of a NAPT-funded doc. 




throughout the United States, for 
twenty-five years. 

What's the most common mistake a 
filmmaker makes when they apply 
to you? 

When a producer has received funding 
from us in the past for R&D or script 
development and then they come back 
for a follow-up grant, I think some- 
times there's this assumption that we 
have this entire history of their project 
in front of us. As much as we would 
like that to be true, we're not always 
able to do that. When they send those 
second proposals to us— as any other 
funder— they shouldn't assume that 
we are going to refer back to a previous 
proposal to fill in holes. They should 
look at a follow-up proposal as a brand 
new start, in terms of providing all of 
the information. It's not unlike writ- 
ing a cover letter for a job. 

What advice do you give filmmakers 
about putting forth a strong applica- 
tion or proposal? 

The internet has a lot of resources 
out there through our website 
(www.nativetelecom.org), through the 
PBS website (www.pbs.org/producers), 
and through the ITVS website 
(www.itvs.org). There are a lot of produc- 
er development tools and resources 
available to people who have the access 
and who are willing to do the legwork. 
Always be open to improving your skills, 
and don't ever assume that you've com- 
pletely arrived. D 

Jason Guerrasio is a staff writer 
for The Independent. 



30 The Independent | January/February 2003 



festival circuit 



MadCat Women's 
International Film 
Festival 

SECOND-WAVE FEMINISM FINDS FESTIVAL HOME 

By Kate Haug 



T~ he MadCat Women's Inter- 
national Film Festival tests, 
expands, and evolves the tra- 
ditional, politically motivat- 
ed, twentieth-century definition of 
"the women's film festival." Seventies 
feminists had bold ambitions for 
women's films, but festivals were usu- 
ally linked to the burgeoning field of 
cinema studies, leftist politics, or con- 
sciousness-raising. While these festi- 
vals served a crucial need for women 
directors and film scholars, their mis- 
sion became less clear as the politi- 
cized seventies gave way to the 
Oprahcized nineties. Today we see 
women who embrace moving picture 
technology as cool, sassy, and hip. Yet, 
MadCat founder and director Ariella 
Ben-Dov's mission is much more sub- 
tle and sly than what usually passes 
for a contemporary rebel girl's dossier. 
With her original programming and 
focus on artistic innovation, Ben-Dov 
has taken the women's film festival— 
literally and conceptually— into the 
twenty- first century. 

Currently celebrating its six-year 
anniversary, MadCat has outgrown 
any "riot grrl" roots it may have had 
and taken a step that many seventies 
second-wave feminists dreamed about; 
MadCat promotes films made by 
women based on one criteria: artistic 
integrity. Films included in MadCat 
aren't in service to a uniform political 
mission or message. While films pro- 
grammed fit a curatorial theme, work 
is never dismissed for political incor- 

Jen Sachs' animated doc The Velvet 
Tigress screened at MadCat. 



rectness. Although many of the films 
exhibited are experimental, Ben-Dov 
regularly screens narratives, documen- 
taries, and hybrid works that live 
between genres. Ben-Dov curates 
inspired programs that combine both 
historical (and historically neglected) 
films and new works by women. Past 
festivals included Vera 
Chytilova's 1966 Czech 
masterpiece Daisies, 
Lizzie Borden's sem- 
inal Born in Flames, and 
Leotine Sagan's 1931 
classic Maedchen in 
Uniform. 

The 2002 festival 
boasted nine programs 
of sixty films culled from 
a combination of Ben- 
Dov's research submis- 
sions and the 700 plus 
the festival recieved in 
2002. Program themes 
included "This Crazy 
Thing Called Love," "Big Cities Short 
Stories," "Altered Realities," and "To 
Know is Always Better." MadCat 
screened at various venues throughout 
the San Francisco Bay area and will tour 
its program later this year. 

"NYC, Just Like I Pictured It," a pro- 
gram dedicated to New York City's 
architecture and street life, exemplified 
Ben-Dov's curatorial bent. The pro- 
gram included Helen Levitt's 1952 
silent documentary of the Upper Fast 
Side. In The Stnvt: Shirley Clarke's mas- 
terful Skyscraper (1959), a chronicle of 
666 5th Avenue from the architect's 
blueprint to Manhattan's skyline; the 
wry formalist humor of Joyce Wieland's 



1933 (1967); and Johanna Hibbard's 
1999 Vanilla Egg Cream, which gives a 
contemporary view of the city. "We 
wanted to pay our respects to the perse- 
verance of those directly and indirectly 
affected by these events," Ben-Dov said 
as she introduced the program. "We 
chose to look at films that were about 
New York City that pay homage to the 
architecture, the cultures, and the pace 
of the city." Not only is it a pleasure to 
see these rarely screened films, it is a 
vibrant tribute to New York City with- 
out the nationalism that pervades 
many post-September 1 1 programs on 
the same subject. 

The program "Truth Seekers" subtly 
addresses our current political situa- 
tion. As White House rhetoric becomes 




increasingly hawkish, this selection of 
films explores militarism from a variety 
of viewpoints. A Conversation with Hams, 
Shelia Sofian's experimental documen- 
tary, recounts the war experience of a 
young Bosnian boy. Kerry I lust wit's The 
Hunter's Guide captures the seasonal rit- 
uals, male bonding, and banalities of 
her father's favorite sport. While the 
film tries to maintain an observational 
distance, the final scenes of a deer hunt 
connect the men's friendly comers, i 
tions and seemingly innoceni pastime 
to a brutal death. 

Victoria Gamburg's Rigfrt Road Inst 
and Chris Willgmg's Standing at Ground 
Zero both haw war veterans as nana- 



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tors. Right Road Lost's Phil Rios remem- 
bers a particularly gruesome mission 
in the Persian Gulf War. Seeing Rios in 
his everyday life and then in Gulf War 
photos underscores the chilling and 
irresolvable discrepancy between a sol- 
dier's life and a civilian's life. Warren 
Kreml, Standing at Ground Zero's subject 
and a World War II veteran, tells the 
story of his personal transformation 
after his 1945 ship-to-shore visit to 
Ground Zero in Nagasaki, Japan. 
Intentional or not, the film reminds 
the audience that the term "Ground 
Zero" has been used well before 
September 11, 2001 to mark a site of 
extreme devastation. Kreml's humble 
demeanor and powerful ambition to 
work towards world peace after seeing 
the complete obliteration of Nagasaki 
invites viewers to interpret horrifying 
acts of war on a personal level that 
transcends the political status quo. 

At this year's festival, two long-for- 
mat documentaries, Sarah George's 
Catching Out and the premiere of Su 
Friedrich's The Odds of Recovery, were 
featured. Catching Out follows modern 
day trainhoppers on their rail adven- 
tures. The film's straightforwardness, 
lush American landscapes, and inter- 
views create a completely pleasurable 
viewing experience. The subjects of 
Catching Out offer relief from the work- 
a-day world in their personal philoso- 
phy and active pursuit of a life outside 
of commerce. 

Friedrich, who has been making 
films since 1978, has influenced a gen- 
eration of filmmakers with her well- 
crafted, intellectually charged experi- 
mental films. In The Odds of Recovery, 
Friedrich becomes her own documen- 
tary subject as she chronicles various 
illnesses and their effects on her long- 
term relationship. The surprise comes 
when these scenes don't culminate 
into a scathing comment on the med- 
ical system. Instead, they construct an 
intimate portrait of Friedrich's life. 
Friedrich's "hidden camera" reveals 
just as much about being a patient in 
today's medical system as it does her 



32 The Independent | January/February 2003 




fears, frustrations, and ambivalence 
towards her own health. As Friedrich 
pursues a variety of paths (Chinese 
herbs, tai chi, gardening) towards an 
ambiguous, often fleeting state of 
health, the viewer follows the changing 
dynamic of her ongoing relationship. 

One of MadCat's stated missions is 
to "push the technical and aesthetic 
boundaries of filmmaking." As a pri- 
mary goal for the festival, it's certainly 
MadCat's most overt political state- 
ment. Women filmmakers are rarely 
acknowledged for their technical inno- 
vation and craft. The festival showcases 
animation, experimental practice, and 
technical prowess. Cade Bursell tapes 
found footage to 35mm stock in her 
film Test Sites, which investigates the 
effects of nuclear testing. Naomi Uman 
bleaches, rephotographs, and animates 
paper cutouts in Hand Eye Coordination. 
Amy Hick's Hatching Beauty 1 combines 
stop-motion animation, Barbie dolls, 
live action, and found footage to dis- 
cuss the politics of ovum sales. Nancy 
Andrew's hilarious The Reach of an Arm 
uses puppets, miniature sets, and sil- 
houettes to tell the story of a gender 
role reversal that takes place on their 
pioneer journey across the American 
West: Frank Goodin, with literally half 
a brain, whimpers in the wagon while 
Peculiarity, his wife, forges ahead shout- 
ing her 189()'s punk rock anthem: "Out 

Modern day train hoppers are the focus 
of Sarah George's Catching Out. 



of my way. Out of my way." 

Animation, in all its forms, reigned 
at this year's festival, ranging from 
Caroline Leaf's 1976 The Street, about a 
boy waiting for his grandmother to die 
so he can get his bedroom back, to 
Shawn Atkin's superb surreal photo- 
collage tale, The Traveling Eye of the Blue 
Cat, to Lisa Yu's erotic claymation 
odyssey Vessel Wrestling. Hike Hike Hike, 
by Anouck Iyer, and Jen Sachs' The Velvet 
Tigress, use live action as the basis for 
their animation to vastly different ends. 
Hike Hike Hike, at four minutes, is a con- 
cise but vivid portrait of a dogsled team. 
The Velvet Tigress tells the 1931 tabloid 
story of Winnie Ruth Judd, the "Trunk 
Murderess." Thanh, by Thanh Diep, 
seems to be inventing a new form of 
expression altogether. Diep, a woman 
living with cerebral palsy, narrates 
through a machine called "the lib- 
erator" while abstract images that she 
created and then animated rhythmical- 
ly appear with her voice. Many animat- 
ed pieces employ technology to 
produce their work, but Diep takes the 
connection between artist and technol- 
ogy to new levels. 

Other works at MadCat imploded, 
conflated, and exceeded genre alto- 
gether. By using a combination of 
extreme realism (an insightfully deliv- 
ered discussion between patient and 
therapist) and complete fiction (ani- 
mated, puffy humanoids) Pearce 
Williams' Sharp Proofing is simultane- 
ously witty and profound. Diane 



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Bonder's If You Lived Here, You'd Be 
Home By Now gives small-town politics 
new meaning while exploring the fine 
line between truth and fiction. And 
Deborah Stratman brilliantly critiques 
surveillance, corporate space, and secu- 
rity in her film In Order Not to Be Here. 
Stratman plays on the current reality- 
TV obsession by fabricating a thrilling 
piece of faux crime footage and 
subverts the standard Cops narrative by 
giving the audience an unusually 
triumphant criminal-protagonist. 

The MadCat filmgoing experience 
crosses between a history lesson, a tech- 
nical showcase, and a panorama of con- 
temporary film. It has the feeling of a 
much older festival, one with an estab- 
lished direction and a stable mission. 
The festival devotes its resources to pro- 
gramming instead of panels, workshops, 
and parties. The cineaste nature of the 
MadCat, where the most important 
space is the screen, creates a low-key envi- 
ronment. Shaped by Ben-Dov's commit- 
ment to showing the best work she can 
find, regardless of age, nationality, or 
genre, MadCat consistently presents his- 
torically and culturally relevant pro- 
gramming. Ben-Dov's curating is the 
culmination of two significant periods 
of women's film. She's taken an impor- 
tant cue from her second-wave predeces- 
sors by keeping the history of women's 
ilm in focus with contemporary mak- 
ers. In an age of coalition politics, 
ten-Dov is a committee of one. This 
)ower of one harkens back to the golden 
ige of women's cinema, the turn of the 
twentieth century, when Alice Guy 
Blache ran one of the most prolific and 
profitable studios of her time. Like 
Blache, Ben-Dov uses the singularity of 
her position to drive women's film to 
new ground and into the new century. 

MadCat's touring program travels nationwide. 
Ariella Ben-Dov can be reached by e-mail at 
alionbear@earthlink.net. For more information 
on MadCat or submissions to next year's 
festival, go to www.somaglow.com/madcat. 

Kate Haug is a San Francisco-based writer. Her 

interview with Carolee Schneemann will 

appear in the forthcoming Routledge anthology, 

Experimental Cinema: a Film Reader. 



34 The Independent | January/February 2003 



on view 



Work to Watch For 



By Jason Guerrasio 



Theatrical 

Lost in La Mancha 

Dir. Keith Fulton & Louis Pepe 

(I FC Films, Jan. 31) 

"The fact that [Terry Gilliam's] film 
failed obviously gives you an even 
greater avenue into the mechanics of 
filmmaking that people don't get to 




-'" v 



see or hear about," says Keith Fulton, 
who with his partner Louis Pepe 
directed Lost In LaMancba, the verite 
look at the unmaking of Gilliam's film 
about his lifelong obsession, Don 
Quixote, starring Johnny Depp and 
Jean Rochefort. After numerous dead 
ends, Gillian finally begins shooting 
without any financial backing from 
Hollywood. The S32 million budget 
was raised from within Europe. "We 
thought, 'This is a big film with big 
actors and a big name director, this 
thing is in no way vulnerable to any- 
thing,' [but] even Terry said, 'God, you 
guys were so slow to catch on,'" says 
Pepe about his realization that the 
film wouldn't get finished. 

As shooting is delayed by a down- 
pour that almost washes away the 
equipment, a soundstage that isn't 
sound-proof, and an injury to 
Rochefort on the sixth day of shooting, 

(Left) Terry Gilliam and Jean Rochefort 
on the set of the ill-fated The Man Who 
Killed Don Quixote. (Right) ITVS's 
Counting on Democracy confronts the 
Florida recount and "chad"-mare of the 
2000 presidential election. 



we realize, as the crew does, that The 
Man Who Killed Don Quixote is doomed. 

Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary 

Dir. Andre Heller & 

Othmar Schmiderer 

(Sony Pictures Classics, Dec. 25) 

This ninety-minute documentary 
relies heavily on the mesmerizing tale 
of Junge Traudl, Adolf Hitler's private 
secretary. There are no archival pho- 
tos or "lost footage," just the eighty- 
one-year-old Traudl in front of the 
camera. She chronicles her life from 
being a naive girl who admired Hitler, 
to becoming the loyal employee to 
whom he dictated his will, to being an 
old woman unable to forgive herself. 
Hours after Blind Spot premiered at the 
Berlin Film Festival, Traudl died. 

Stone Reader 

Dir. Mark Moskowitz 
(Film Forum, Feb. 12) 

Filmmaker Mark Moskowitz sets 
out to find the mysterious author of 
The Stones of Summer, Dow Mossman, 
who disappeared after the book's 1972 
publication. During his year-long 
search for the elusive author, 
Moskowitz speaks to many of the most 
influential people in literature, includ- 
ing the editor of Joseph Heller's Catch- 
22, Robert Gottlieb. This doc not only 
keeps you on the edge of your seat, it 
explores the state of reading in the fast- 
paced information age. 

Television 

Counting on Democracy 

Dir. Danny Schechter 
(ITVS, check local listings) 
Danny Schechter's Counting on 
Democracy 1 follows a story that 358 
nous organizations that camped out 
in Palm Beach, the site of the 2000 
Florida vote recount, missed: The fact 



that the majority of the 175,000 
ballots never counted belonged to 
African Americans in a year with one 
of the largest African American voter 
turnouts in Florida history. 

Although it was finished with an 
ITVS grant, PBS passed on the film 




because the network had already shown 
a program poking fun at the election. 
Since then, ITVS has distributed the doc 
on public television, station by station. 
"There's a lot of interest in these issues 
and yet it's hard to get out any perspec- 
tive that doesn't follow the same spin as 
everything else," Schechter says. 

LANCE LOUD! A Death in 
an American Family 

Dir. Alan & Susan Raymond 
(PBS, Jan. 6) 

In 1973 PBS aired the first reality 
TV show, a twelve-part documentary 
called An American Family, the real-life 
drama of the Loud family. This latest 
documentary is the final chapter of 
Lance, the openly gay teenage son in 
his final months before his death due 
to AIDS. The doc celebrates Lance's 
life and how he lived it. 

Mobile-Eyes on Economic Justice 
and the World Social Forum 

(Free Speech TV, Jan. 25) 

This half-hour program shot at the 
World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, 
Brazil, offers an introduction to the 
issues and activists involved in global- 
ization. The program is directed at 
encouraging viewers to help their cities 
enact policies that support human 
rights and economic justice, along with 
debunking corporate-led globalization. 

Jason Guerrasio is a staff writer 
for The Independent 



January/February 2003 | The Independent 35 




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Dynamic Duo 

TODD LOUISO AND PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN 



Philip Seymour Hoffman and Todd Louiso met over ten 
years ago, when both were acting in Scent of a Woman. Since 
then, they have become friends, lived together for a year 
and a half, and worked together on a short film, The Fifteen 
Minute Hamlet (1995), Louiso directing, Hoffman acting. 
Then came the big challenge: For his feature directorial 
debut, Louiso directed Hoffman in the starring role of Love 
Liza, a film written by Hoffman's brother, Gordy. Dream 
scenario? Or a nightmare in which two people who used to 
love and respect each other bicker and fight, with director- 
friend bossing actor-friend around twenty-four days, at the 
end of which they're no longer on speaking terms? 

"Phil and I were taking a chance working together," 
Louiso says, sitting next to Hoffman on a cozy couch at the 
Hamptons Film Festival. "But I didn't have a hard time 
telling him what I wanted, and he didn't have a hard time 
telling me what he wanted. There's a comfort level; there's 
already a language that's been created." Hoffman agrees. 
"Bad stuff can happen and you know it's going to be okay," 
he says. "You move on. I mean, we lived together." 

The collaboration— between Louiso, Hoffman, and the 
rest of the cast and crew— was extremely successful. Love 
Liza won critical acclaim at Sundance 2002, as well as the 
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. 

Even on the most auspicious productions the road from 
script to screen is scattered with obstacles, especially for a 
first-time director with a small budget. Having a script, 
funding, a cast, and a crew in place does not a brilliant 
movie make. One of the classic mistakes that independent 
filmmakers make is believing that having an artistic vision 
or a great script means they'll be crackerjack directors. 
Unfortunately, being blessed with creative mojo doesn't 
ensure that a filmmaker will have the knack for directing 
actors. Communicating with a cast and drawing out strong 
performances is a specialized and difficult skill. 

Louiso, an experienced actor, realized quickly that 
directing a feature film is very different from acting in one. 
While an actor can focus primarily on his or her part, the 
director is responsible for making sure the cast and crew do 
their jobs, and is ultimately accountable for every frame of 
the completed film. "It was the hardest thing I ever had to 
do, just to be responsible in that way," Louiso says. "You're 
worried about everything and everyone. It shaved a couple 

Hoffman and Louiso planning their next shot on the set of 
Love Liza. 



By Andrea Meyer 

years off my life. I smoked so much and didn't eat. But it's 
also the most rewarding thing I've done so far." 

A director has to balance his or her own needs with those 
of the cast and crew on one side and the producers on the 
other, and they often conflict. And in the midst of all this 




negotiating, the film is happening, in real time. The camera 
is rolling, capturing the action that will become the movie. 
"You're always feeling pressure from the producers to get in 
there and move on," Louiso says. "But you have to take your 
time. You're making the film. This is it. People can whisper 
in your ear, 'Oh, we'll get that shot later.' But usually you're 
not going to get it later, and you can forget that when you're 
in the heat of the shoot." 



January/February 2003 | The Independent 37 



Hoffman adds, "In film, it something's not working it's 
usually nor just the actor. It's usually the whole damn 
thing that's not working. It's a we problem, usually. It's a 
DP director/actor/script problem. It's like, how do we 
make it work? 'Cause it's not working right now." 

For Louiso, the trick to making it work was hiring peo- 
ple— especially actors— that he knew he could rely on to do 
their jobs well. "Trusting your actors is key. And in order 
to trust them, you have to cast well," he says. "With this 
film, I felt the need to allow the actors to explore and feel 
comfortable doing, that. Otherwise vou won't get these 
kinds of gems out of them. You have 
to coax them out by allowing them 
to explore." 

"Filmmaking is such a collabora- 
tive art form. I try to use people I like 
and open myself up to them," he says. 
"I'm not a tyrant who says, 'It has to 
be this way.'" Louiso found a system 
for working with his actors that basi- 
cally involved giving them room to 
play. He would clear the set of every- 
body except the actors in the particu- 
lar scene; Lisa Rinzler, the DP (Pollock, 
Three Seasons); and himself. Then 
they'd plan the shot together. "I have 
a game plan of what I want to hap- 
pen, but I would let Phil come in and 
I would tell him my ideas, and he 
would say, 'Well, I don't feel like 
doing that. I feel like doing this,'" 
Louiso says. "The DP would interject 
what she was thinking. I'd just try to 
keep things very minimal." 

Hoffman says this system was ideal for him. "It was real- 
ly good that way. Lisa, Todd, and I would go in there and 
just work it out," he says. "We wouldn't spend too much 
time. We'd just go in, set it up, and roll." 

Before the shoot, Louiso had almost no time to rehearse 
with his cast. "I wish we'd had more," he says. "But I guess 
I just try to create an atmosphere where the actors don't 
feel rushed, especially when you're on a shoot that's so 
short— twenty-four days in fifty-two locations, working six- 
da}' weeks." He says, however, that Hoffman's performance 
was not at all diminished by the lack of rehearsal. "We'd 
talked about it so much through the years and we both 
knew the script so well, so there was something we knew 
about it already inside of us." 

There were, of course, disagreements, but they were not 
the norm. For example, in a scene in which Wilson, the char- 
acter Hoffman plays, goes swimming in a lake, Louiso says 
he wanted to get more coverage of Hoffman swimming, 
while the actor preferred focussing on his lines. Hoffman 




won the battle. "It was hard for me to say, 'Keep swimming,' 
when it was thirty-degree weather and he was out on the 
lake," Louiso laughs. Of their occasional differences of 
opinion, Louiso says, "I'd let him do what he wanted and 
then I would make the decision in the cutting room." 

Being an actor with nearly a dozen films under his belt 
(High Fidelity, Jerry Maguire) served Louiso in many ways in 
his role as director. For one, he is fortunate to have built 
relationships with a lot of actors that he trusts. Besides a 
few people in the film (Kathy Bates, for example), the 
majority of cast members were friends that he had worked 
with through the years. "They're all 
people I knew I could count on to 
show up and whose work I love," he 
says. "That's hard to do in an inde- 
pendent film. If you're shooting on 
location, you're forced to use actors 
who are local. But because I'm an 
actor, I asked them to do me this 
favor, and they were all incredible 
enough to do that for me." 

Counting a talent like Hoffman 
among those friends certainly helps. 
According to Louiso, his leading 
man continually astounded him. 
Love Liza is an intense story about a 
man struggling to find meaning in 
his life after his wife commits sui- 
cide. Hoffman, playing Wilson, the 
stunned widower, is on screen for 
almost the entire length of the film, 
and he remains completely engaging 
throughout. "Every day, every take 
almost, Phil would do something 
that would make me incredibly happy and in awe of him," 
Louiso says. He describes a shot in which Hoffman sniffs a 
rag soaked in gasoline and hallucinates seeing his wife. "He 
just does it with his eyes and his face, and I remember being 
so moved," Louiso says. "I don't know how to put into 
words how I felt. He just amazed me. We just put on the 
camera and let him do what he wanted to do." 

In that particular scene, the script merely called for 
Wilson to huff intensely, but Louiso came up with the hal- 
lucination idea and Hoffman loved it. "I would have some- 
thing in my head, the way I heard a line," Louiso recalls. 
"And he would tweak it and I'd be amazed at how he would 
interpret it." 

Even though Wilson is a character going through hell, 
Hoffman stresses how important it is to recognize that he 



Above: Hoffman after his chilling swimming scene in Love 
Liza. Right: Hoffman's character, Wilson dazed from huffing 
gas. 



38 The Independent | January/February 2003 



is much more than just distraught. "There's, like, a twenty- 
five-minute section of the movie where he's devastated," 
Hoffman says. "He's not depressed. You are, because you 
know his journey. You see where he's going and there's no 
way of stopping it. His wife committed suicide. He walked 
in. His wife is dead in the garage. You meet him two days 
later. That's the movie. What I'm getting at is devastating, 
yeah, but Wilson is lots of things. 

"That's what drew me into the movie," he continues. 
"When I first read it, I laughed. I was completely bamboo- 
zled and shocked. I was moved. It's not just some guy hang- 
ing by a noose for an hour." 

Hoffman's argument is a bit tough for a filmgoer to 
grasp, because the film is so unsettling. But just go with it 
for a minute: Assume that the guy isn't devastated. How do 
an actor and director create a character going through 
what he's going through and give him emotional dimen- 
sionality? How do they work together to bring that dimen- 
sionality from the script to the screen? 

"What's actually happening is he's enjoying himself," 
Hoffman explains. "He's running around and sniffing gas 
and swimming in places he shouldn't swim. When he goes 
swimming, the water was, like, thirty-five degrees. It was 
really cold. So, we're not gonna sit there and talk about the 
wife's death," he says in a melodramatic tone. "You're very 
upset. You're very sad. No," he says, himself again. "What 
you're going to talk about is, 'Okay, the water's very cold. 
So, when you get out there, swim in the water, but then run 
back. We're going to have this long lens on you.' Todd isn't 
going to sit here and worry me with all the emotional dol- 
drums. In acting the part and in talking to Todd about it, 
it was all about how not to feel what you 're feeling watching 
the movie. What Wilson is doing is doing everything to not 
actually sink into a chair and go, 'Oh God, she's dead' for 
two hours." 

"He's a very internal character," says Louiso. "The prob- 
lem was how do you have a protagonist who's so internal 
and how do you inform the audience who he is and get 
them to feel for him? That's a huge credit to Phil. He did all 
that. I tried to put the camera on him in certain ways and 
use music to fill the silences. But the silences allowed me to 
really be a director. That's the beauty of film. It's image- 
based, and I wanted it to be a really quiet film, especially in 
Wilson's life right now. This person is gone from his life." 

"Acting in it, you have to worry more about what the 
script says he's doing" says Hoffman. "You're going to cre- 
ate the emotion no matter what, because it's an upsetting 
story, so you worry more about what he's doing— what he's 
doing so that he doesn't just sit there and cry. That's how I 
looked at it a lot of the time. How is he distracting himself 
from the pain he's going through?" 

Behind-the-scenes drama can often rival what the audi- 
ence watches on screen. At one point during the twenty-four- 



day shoot, the crew learned that an enormous amount of 
footage was unusable because of a bad shutter on the cam- 
era. They were sending dailies to a lab in LA from location in 
Alabama and by the time they learned of the mishap they 
had shot about four days' worth of useless footage. 

When disaster strikes a production, it falls on the shoul- 
ders of the director to hold everything together. "I thought 
I'd die at that point, but I'm still here," Louiso says. "It was 
the worst thing that could have happened, but you have to 
rally the troops and say, 'All right, this is a chance to 
improve and rethink the shots.' And we did that." 

Hoffman also tried to see the crisis as an opportunity. "If 
you ever get a chance to go back to things in films, you can 




always go, 'Well, what can we do better?'" he says. 

At this point, Louiso's ability to empathize with the 
actors became invaluable. "As an actor you think, 'I did it. 
It's over. I can live with that.' And then you have to reshoot, 
and it's incredibly painful," he says. 

How did Louiso put his shattered cast back together? "Just 
to be supportive and not to dismiss their feelings. You have to 
allow people to be pissed off, allow them to have those feel- 
ings and not try to fight them. You have to be the rock. You 
have to be really strong and allow the others CO fall apart." 

Overall, Hoffman and Louiso agree that the Love Liza 
shoot was a positive experience, disasters and all. The lirst- 
time feature director and the well-known actor earning an 
entire film for the first time supported each other with 
astounding success. And they have an emotional power- 
house of a film to show for it. "Phil's in everything but 
something like eight scenes, and in editing 1 never got tired 
of watching him," says Louiso. "He and I trusted each other 
and we were on the same page aesthetically. In the end, he 
allowed me to dictate how the film was going to look. He 
trusted me to do that." D 

Andre j Meyer covers film for lm<-i\ iew, Time Out 

New York. LndieWIRE, andtbe New York Post. 

She also reports on relationships and celebrities for ( ilamoui 



January/February 2003 | The Independent 39 



Media Mentors 

EXPERIENCED MAKERS OFFER EMERGING 
TALENT GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT 

By Kimberly Weiner 



Take a moment to ponder your understanding of the con- 
cept of mentoring. Do you envision a tight, one-on-one 
relationship, something akin to "snatch this pebble from 
my hand, grasshopper?" Perhaps you feel more confident 
equating the experience to an apprenticeship, where the 
novice follows the expert, performing tasks alongside, and 
learning through doing in the actual environ. Perchance 
you equate a mentorship with an internship, where the 
goal is to get into the desired environment, make a solid 
impression while performing an unending series of typical- 
ly menial tasks, and, hopefully, create relationships to be 
called upon in the future. 

Yahooligans Reference, a better source for direct data than 
most "grown-up" reference sites, defines the term this way: 

Mentor 

NOUN: A wise and trusted counselor or teacher. 
INTRANSITIVE VERB: To serve as a trusted counselor or 
teacher, especially in occupational settings. 

But finding mentoring programs in the video/film com- 
munity, or any field, that hold true to this definition is not 
a particularly easy task. Often the term is employed as a 
marketing buzzword to potential applicants who later dis- 
cover that what is really being offered is an internship. 
Internships can be powerful experiences, but they are not 
mentorships, and to use the terms as interchangeable is 
neither correct nor fair to either experience. Should you 
still think the two are relatively the same, consider the dif- 
ferent forms of "intern" as compared to those previously 
mentioned for "mentor": 

Intern 

NOUN: A student or recent graduate undergoing supervised 
practical training. 

INTRANSITIVE VERB: To train or serve as an intern. 
TRANSITIVE VERB: (also n-turn) To confine, especially 
in wartime. 

With that clarified, let's look at several, nonconfining 



film/video mentor programs that deserve a "truth-in- 
advertising" seal for providing what they promise. 

WOMEN IN FILM (www.wif.org) 

Women In Film's mission statement declares their pur- 
pose to be "to empower, promote, nurture, and mentor 
women in the industry." As Jane LeBonte, Women In Film 
Mentor Program director, explains, "We understand the 
importance of relationships and try to create matches 
where the mentor will be able to guide their young 
woman through the culture of not only their field, but of 
the industry." 

Women In Film's formal mentoring program lasts six 
months. The mentor is responsible for meeting with his or 
her mentee at least two times face-to-face and conducting 
two telephone conversations each month. "Pairing up peo- 
ple is challenging. You have to consider not only the pro- 
fessional goals of the woman, but how much time the 
potential mentor has to share. I'm asking very busy people 
to take on another responsibility," LeBonte says. She 
points out that when initial contact comes from the hope- 
ful mentee, in the form of a sincere letter, it can spark an 
outstanding mentoring relationship. "When a potential 
mentor sees that a woman so genuinely desires to learn, 
then the effort and commitment doesn't seem as over- 
whelming," she notes. 

INDEPENDENT TELEVISION SERVICE (ITVS) 
(www.itvs.org) 

ITVS supports and funds independent producers, partic- 
ularly those focusing on documentaries. The organiza- 
tion is a support and catalyst for growth in the way inde- 
pendent producers participate in and define the cultural 
dialogue of public television; this focus fuels their men- 
toring program. With the goal of getting public televi- 
sion producers to participate in and learn from "real hip- 
to-hip mentoring," as Claire Aguilar, ITVS's director of 
programming, describes it, ITVS mentor-mentee rela- 
tionships are project-based. "This is not a cookie-cutter 
situation; there is a level of agreement between both 



40 The Independent | January/ February 2003 



mentor and mentee about what each expects as learning 
experiences and responsibilities. Both participants must 
recognize that learning occurs on both ends," explains 
Aguilar. 

ITVS stands out from most men- 
toring programs by offering 
stipends, from $5,000-$20,000, 
depending on the kind of work and 
the time frame. This money serves 
two purposes: It welcomes mentees 
into the professional community of 
documentary filmmaking, and this 
income ensures a mentee's commit- 
ment for a substantial amount of 
time (six months or more), allowing 
the mentor-mentee relationship to 
grow organically. The long-term 
goal of the program is to get people 
to the point where they can be com- 
petitive as new producers and 
return to ITVS to get resources and 
funding for their own projects. 
"This experience will help ensure 
that [today's mentees] feel a com- 
mitment to work in public media," Aguilar says. 

Mentoring, of course, builds not only a relationship 
between the mentee and the sponsor organization (in this 
case ITVS), but also a relationship between the mentor and 
mentee; a more intimate, open one than the typical 
worker/supervisor relationship. Carol Bash, Stanley 
Nelson's mentee throughout the production of his ITVS- 
funded documentary, A Place of Our Own, explains, "The 
project was intense in the sense that during production [in 
the summer of 2001 ], I lived with the Nelson family. It was 
a unique working experience out of which I got to know 
Stanley more personally than I normally would have, had 
we worked in the typical office setting . . . the usual social 
barriers and office etiquette were simply broken down. I 
also think working in such an unconventional environ- 
ment benefited the production, because I felt much more 
at ease to just brainstorm and offer ideas." 

The mentor/mentee relationship, like all others, grows 
over time. "It was a gradual process," she continues, "not 
something that happened overnight. But in the end. I 
teel that I found someone who I not only felt comfort- 
able working with but who I could share my personal 
career goals and interests with as well. Hven though the 
formal ITVS mentorship program has ended, what I've 



Above: Stanley Nelson, ITVS mentor and director of A Place 
of Our Own. Right: Claire Aguilar, director of programming 
of ITVS. 



taken away from it is something special because it is long 
lasting. I've met someone who I've connected with and 
who I feel believes in me, and that's great. We should all 
have mentors." 




APPALSHOP (www.appalshop.org) 

Nestled in the hills of Kentucky, Appalshop supports the 
ongoing growth of a film and television production coop- 
erative within the Appalachian community, much as it has 
since its inception in 1969. Originally brought together ro 
complete a job training program, many program graduates 
decided to stay. These people then created their own 
production company, focusing on making films about 
Appalachian culture and social issues, finding both a niche 
for their products and a calling as a source of education 
and inspiration for local communities. 

Today, Appalshop offers a multitude of activities and 
opportunities for the people of the region to gather, 
communicate, explore creative outlets, .\nd give back to 
the community through mentoring-styled youth out- 
reach programs such as the 
Appalachian Media Institute 
(AMI) program. 

Through AMI, young 
people in eastern Kentucky 
work with professionals from 
.Appalshop to learn how to 
use video cameras and audio 
equipment. The students are 
guided through the experi- 
ence o\~ documenting the 
unique traditions of their 
lives as Appalachian youth. 




January/February 2003 | The Independent 41 



AMI also offers intensive summer institutes and year- 
round media literacy and production training within the 
local schools. 

There is no formal one-on-one mentoring in AMI, but 
just as there are programs that use the label "mentoring" to 
mean internship, so also there are programs so infused 
with the spirit of mentoring that they do not separate it 
from their basic work. Appalshop is one of these. The prac- 
tice of nurturing and supporting youth is enmeshed into 
every part of AMI. 

Program graduate Amelia Kirby sums up her experi- 
ence, "I came to Appalshop as a young woman knowing 
that I wanted to stay in the mountains, but that the 
employment options were pretty limited. I had a strong 
sense of our culture and the issues of the region, but 
almost no media skills. I was taken under the collective 
wing of the Appalshop filmmakers and taught the skills to 
create media about my community. I am still here, partic- 
ipating in work I believe in, and I'm still rooted in my 
home community. To me that's the beauty of Appalshop— 
that I can stay here in the mountains and make strong 
media about home." 

INDEPENDENT FEATURE PROJECT-LA. 

(www.ifp.org) 

A nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering communi- 
cation and providing resources for its approximately 9,000 



independent filmmakers, industry professionals, and inde- 
pendent film enthusiast members, IFP has six US chapters. 
The Los Angeles chapter is preparing for the tenth anniver- 
sary of Projectdnvolve, a program designed to promote cul- 
tural diversity in the film industry through training, job 
placement, and mentorship. 

Pamela Tom, the director of Projectdnvolve, believes 
that "mentoring is especially important in the film 
industry, because access is so important to developing 
your career and succeeding in film. A component that 
-incorporated access as a fundamental part of its opera- 
tions is really important, and mentoring seemed to be 
the ideal way." 

A great deal of time and consideration goes into pairing 
an IFP mentee with a mentor, because the goal is to create 
a relationship that will serve both parties long after the for- 
mal four-month commitment is over. "People who go 
through our program have already done internships. 
They're not trying to replicate that experience. In fact, I 
truly believe you should spend a very finite amount of time 
in your life doing internships. They're valid, they serve a 
purpose, but you should get in and get out. A mentorship 
program is a whole different ball game. It's being set up 
with somebody who is consciously choosing to guide you, 
to provide access, in some cases train, and pass on their 
knowledge. In our mentor guidelines, we say these are 
things you [the mentor] can do to share. You can share 



MENTORS: 

Questions you should ask before making a 
commitment to be a mentor. 

■ Is the minimum time commitment realistic for you? 
Making promises of your time and attention that you know 
you just can't meet are a recipe for a disastrous situation. 

■ Is there a contact person to go to should your mentee fail 
to follow through on planned meetings or should other 
issues arise? 

■ Does the program have a format or tools (handbooks, 
guidelines, time lines) to prepare you for being a mentor? 

■ Are you prepared to be open and honest about your 
job and how you achieved your level of success? 
The mentee is coming to you for guidance and support, 
not to be an audience for your favorite anecdotes. 

■ You need to ask your mentee the kinds of questions 
that will allow you to fill in their knowledge gaps. 

■ A successful mentor is a cross between Sherlock 
Holmes and Socrates-always asking questions to ensure 
that information given is indeed what's necessary to paint 
a complete picture for the learner. 



MENTEES: 

Questions you should ask before making a 
commitment to a mentoring program. 

■ Are there clear minimums as far as how much contact 
your mentor will give you (i.e., number of phone calls or 
face-to-face meetings)? 

■ Is there a contact person you can go to should your men- 
tor not follow through on the committed time? 

■ Does the program have a clear format or specific tools 
(handbooks, guidelines) to ensure that both you and your 
mentor are able to get the most out of your formal mentor- 
ing relationship? 

■ Is the goal of the situation for you to work for the men- 
tor? This is red flag for an internship masquerading as a 
mentorship. 

■ Does the program have enough clout to be able to con- 
nect you with a mentor who really has the experience and 
understanding you are seeking? 

■ Are you prepared to put your ego on the back burner and 
soak up as much guidance, experience, and wisdom as 
can be shared within a reasonable amount of time? 



42 The Independent | January/February 2003 




books with them, films that you've seen that have influ- 
enced you. Share that process, those years of experience 
that it took you to get where you are, share that with your 
mentee," Tom explains. 

She recounts a letter she just received from one mentee 
who wrote about an experience on the set of 6 Feet Under. 
The mentee was shadowing her mentor and realized that it 
was the first time she'd been on a film set where she wasn't 
actually working. This allowed her to sit back and observe. 
"She thought that was really valuable," Tom says. 

Mia C. Villanueva, a Project:Involve graduate who has 
since returned to IFP to help grow the program as a job 
coordinator, has gained many benefits from the program. 
"As far as my mentorship experience and overall experience 
with Project: Involve, I can honestly say I don't know where 
I would be or what path I would have taken without the 
open doors that Project:Involve has provided. I moved to 
Los Angeles from Seattle, not really knowing how I would 
get my foot in the door. However, to be mentored by a pro- 
fessional who is willing to give you honest and open feed- 
back to help you improve your craft is a service that is sin- 
cerely priceless." 

Recently, the Chicago IFP also initiated their own men- 
toring project to benefit a diverse section of the local 
youth. IFP-New York has also offered their version of the 
Project:Involve mentoring program since 2000. 

FILM ARTS FOUNDATION (www.filmarts.org) 

Celebrating their twenty-fifth year, the San Francisco- 
based Film Arts Foundation has grown from a small, non- 
profit group to a nationally recognized leader in the 



Left and Center: Film Arts mentor Rhadi Taylor and teens at 
the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and at work on the 
street. Right: Project:lnvolve Director Pamela Tom and IFP 
Mentor Elizabeth Pena. 



media arts field. The organization provides comprehen- 
sive training, equipment, information, consultations, and 
exhibition opportunities to independent filmmakers. 
Film Art's 3,400 members can be found around the globe, 
working and pushing the creative boundaries of film, 
video, and multimedia. To sustain the continued growth 
of the independent film community, Film Arts promotes 
opportunities for interested people to learn about the 
entire filmmaking process. One of their premier tools for 
providing such services is the mentoring program 
STAND. 

STAND (Support, Training and Access for New 
Directors) originated in 1996 as a way to guide first-time 
filmmakers from underrepresented communities through 
the filmmaking process. STAND awards each participant 
SI, 500 in credit toward Film Arts classes and equipment 
rentals and pairs up each award winner with a professional 
filmmaker who then mentors them through the process of 
creating a short film or video. Current program mentor 
(and AIVF board member) Rahdi Taylor admits that the 
time commitment can feel overwhelming. "Officially I'm 
asked to give two hours a month, but I find myself spend- 
ing a great deal more thinking about contacts or opportu- 
nities I could arrange for my mentee," she says. Taylor 
believes that mentoring is well worth the effort. 
"Community is important to me, and this experience is 
about the person, the mentee. It's not like an internship 
where the focus is on the organization or the production. 
My energy is specifically focused on the needs of my 
mentee." D 

An educational media specialist, Dr. Kimberly Weiner leads 

EdTechll (www.edtech21.com), the consulting firm she founded 

in 1998. This unique source for information, support, and assistance 

with media components specializes m ensuring that the audience's 

exposure to ideas and information is powerful and meaningful She bos 

also been an active educational consultant for children V programming 

developers, evaluating scripts. Storylines, and character development 



January/February 2003 | The Independent 43 



Collaborating 
Mediums 

FINDING STRUCTURE IN MUSIC 

By Katie Cokinos 




Collaborations come in many different forms. Some artists 
even collaborate without ever communicating with each 
other during the creation of the project. Recently, 
for an unusual music/film project, four filmmakers and 
three composers in two cities did just that, creating collab- 
orative works without physically 
or virtually working together. The 
mediums, more than the artists, 
formed the collaboration. The 
results were four inspiring short 
music films. 

Commissioned through a visual 
arts grant administered by the 
Austin Film Society, these films 
were created for and premiered 
at The Festival Dancing in Your 
Head, an annual Minneapolis 
music event. Four Texas filmmakers— Mireille Fornengo, 
Aaron Valdez, Justin Hennard, and Gary Price— created 
films based on the music of Minnesota composers Jeffrey 
Brooks, David Echelard, and Anthony Gatto. 

Each filmmaker was given a compilation CD prepared by 
the festival's artistic director, Anthony Gatto, and asked to 
compose a one- to five-minute film or video from whichev- 
er piece of music inspired them the most. No restrictions 
were placed on either form or content; however, as with any 
music-oriented film, the images were 
in a sense subservient to the pre-exist- 
ing music because the music did not 
change or bend to the vision of the 
filmmaker. This arguably one-sided 
filmmaking relationship shifts once 
the work is completed, because the 
success or failure of any film ulti- 
mately hangs on its images. 

Aaron Valdez chose Inte, domine, 





speravi, by Josquin des Pres, a religious medieval vocal sung in 
Latin by David Echelard. "I listened to the song with my eyes 
closed with a pen in one hand and a stopwatch in the other," 
explains Valdez. "I would open [my eyes] and note the time 
whenever I felt a natural break in the music. As it worked out 
each segment lasted nineteen to twenty-three seconds, then 
the music tapered off to begin a new phase. I literally trans- 
lated the phrasing 
into single shots 
that faded to black 
and then faded in 
to the next shot/ 
phrase." 

Echelard perfor- 
med the music dur- 
ing the screening 
of Valdez's film, 
a deliberate melan- 
choly meditation on 

empty suburban spaces— abandoned buildings, vacant and 
broken billboards, clouds— with the striking contrast and 
continuity of a heavenly blue sky in the background. Valdez 
continues, "It was important to me to not bastardize the 
music and create something contrary to what the composer 
and performer felt the music was about. I worked off the 
basic feeling I got from listening to the piece, a kind of 
beautiful lonesomeness." 

Although the filmmakers started 
with an existing piece of music they 
all agreed that their processes were 
collaborative. The music they selected 
provided compositional structures 
through which they navigated their 
visual stories or themes. As Fornengo 
puts it, "[The music] gave me a form 
that guided me through the filmmak- 



44 The Independent | January/February 2003 




ing process, a language I had Co stay faithful to." 

At the screening of Fornengo's haunting film of three 
ghostly figures dancing in a dark forest with their mouths 
open wide, David Echelard sang Jeffrey Brooks' composition 
Early Music. While watching this film, the audience saw 
something beyond the strictly technological event of 
Echelard singing in front of a digital video— the more pow- 
erful, third work created by the collaboration. 

For Echelard, sharing the spotlight with moving images was a 
new but welcome experience. "[It's] wonderful— it takes the pres- 
sure off [me] to share the 
stage, although I didn't 
see the film. It happened 
behind me," he com- 
ments. Composer Brooks 
enjoyed the film, which he 
saw for the first time dur- 
ing the performance at 
the festival, but he felt a bit 
torn between the two 
elements. "David has such 
a strong presence as he 
sings, and Mireille's 
[Fornengo] film was so 
powerful that I didn't 
know where to look. I 
wished we could have 
created a space for David 
to incorporate him somehow into the film." 

Upon hearing of the idea to make a music film, Gary 
Price was suddenly struck with the image of a friend of his 
taking a bath. He forgot about this image until he was lis- 
tening to Anthony Gatto's Dance You Monster to My Soft 
Song, whereupon he was hit again with the mental image of 
someone meditating in water. Price's concept, which he 
executed in a static, three-minute take of a man bathing 
after a brief but heated phone argument (the only film- 
maker to include dialogue in his or her work), was set 
against the frenetic pace and high volume of the avant jazz- 
inspired musical selection. 

"I like the jazz elements of the composition," Price 
explains. "I found my first real inroad to jazz about the 
same time I spontaneously felt I found some relationship to 
the concept/idea/practice of meditation." He likens the dif- 
ferent rhythms and disharmonies of free jazz to being "akin 
to a place in the mind amongst all the impulses and 
thoughts constantly flowing, [which meditation allows one 
to] observe or, at least, find a separation from the flow." 



Facing: Left and center, two scenes from Hennard's piece; 
right, a still from Valdez's project. Above: Fernengo's ghost- 
ly images accompany Brooks' Early Music. 



Price's film was a significant contrast to Justin Hennard's 
interpretation of the same music. The two selected the same 
pieces independently. Hennard created a dense and dark 
experimental narrative involving a lone male figure who 
seems to be tormented, or physically attacked, by a quasi- 
alien element after a wild ride with a plastic bag on his head. 
Hennard's work is both visually stunning and tightly 
orchestrated with the musical structure. 

"I tried to set out to make more than just a music video," 
Hennard explains. "I'm mostly interested in narrative film- 
making. I knew I didn't 
want to just use ambient 
images of pretty things 
or images of people 
performing on instru- 
ments. They had to tie 
into the structure of 
the narrative. The piece 
I chose had several 
layers and many subtle 
changes that traveled 
in several directions. I 
thought this would be a 
good palate to work 
with. I tried to take the 
instrumentation of the 
piece and turn it into a 
narrative idea— sort of 
scoring to the music with the images. I took the few themes 
in the piece and used them as markers to changes in the 
visual narrative." 

The composer nodded his head while he watched 
Hennard's interpretation of his music. "I was really happy 
with the work Justin did," Gatto says. "It brought out all 
the compositional architecture." 

Since the very beginning, music has been utilized to 
enhance the visual narratives of films and great scores are 
often as memorable to the viewer as the characters or sto- 
ries. However, when a film is "composed" to accompany a 
piece of music, the filmmaker must transform the emo- 
tional dynamics of the composition into a visual "story." 
And when the two emotionally charged mediums unite 
they both move up in the artistic food chain. The experi- 
ence of the filmmakers and composers involved in this par- 
ticular project tells us that if a picture is worth a thousand 
words, then a piece of music is worth a thousand 
pictures. D 

Katie Cokinos is a filmmaker and former director of the Austin Film 

Society. She developed the music film commissioning 

project with Anthony Gatto and served as a liaison between 

Headwaters Music and the Austin-based filmmakers 



January/February 2003 | The Independent 45 




By Maud Kersnowski 

Every year when the new consumer camcorders hit the market, a few of them are designed not only for home movies, but 
also for the independent filmmaker. This year we tried out two of these cameras by putting them in the hands of three 
filmmakers, each of whom represents a different type of filmmaker the cameras were designed to attract. Mary Sampson 
is currently working on her first feature, Wave, after shooting with video cameras for public access television in Los Angeles. 
Laura Bennet is an NYU film school graduate working in commercial production while exploring her own independent proj- 
ects. And Bryant Falk is an experienced videographer who owns Abacus Sound, a recording studio in New York City. The film- 
makers rated each camera in a wide range of categories as well as offered their comments on camera performance. 

Comments on the Canon GL2 

Falk: I would buy this camera for its image quality, light weight, and portability. A serious 
indie filmmaker may find it a bit frustrating when trying to dig up manual settings or use the 
viewfinder for an extended period of time. 

Bennett: I felt this camera was too light. It had a flimsy, unsteady image when hand-held. 

Sampson: All of the controls seem small and misplaced, but the manual controls are no 
worse than any of the other ones. 

Falk: The auto feature on many of these cameras is steadily improving. This one is no excep- 
tion. I found the auto functions at this level very acceptable. 

Bennett: The zoom on this camera was smooth, but very slow, and its pace could not be 
varied. When zooming, the image dissolved back and forth between a grainy mush and a 
perfectly acceptable image. 

Sampson: The shutter speed option works well. Except for the buttons being small, it's 
easy to set and to adjust. 

Bennett: In the dark cavern of my apartment, it seemed very capable of catching every dust 
bunny in the place! 




The Canon GL2 
is the company's 
further refining of their GL1 
mini-DV 3-CCD camcorder. It 
offers a fluoride lens that lives up 
to Canon's reputation for high 
quality optics plus a batch of 
other features. The camera is 
light on price and weight. It tips 
the scales at about two and half 
pounds and it lists for $2,999 but 
has been spotted online for $1,899. 



Canon GL2 

Price: $2,999 



Weight: 2 lbs. 7 1/2 oz. 



Features: ■ Manual audio level control ■ 20x zoom lens with digital 
zoom, F/1 .6-2.9, 20x power zoom, 4.2-84 mm ■ L-series fluorite lens 

■ 1 .7 megapixel still images (1 488 x 1 1 28) ■ 3 CCD 1 /4" Pixel Shift, 
410.000 pixels (380,000 effective pixels) ■ USB terminal ■ IEEE 

1 394 in/out terminal ■ Multimedia card/SD memory card compatibility 

■ 2.5 in. measured diagonally (6.4 cm), 200,000 pixel LCD screen 

■ Dimensions: 4-5/8 x 5-3/8 x 1 2 in. (1 1 8 x 1 36 x 306 mm) 

Accessories included: ■ Lens adapters and filters ■ Audio acces- 
sories ■ Power source ■ Video light and flash ■ Carrying case 

■ Digital videocassette ■ Cables 



CANON GL2 





Sampson 


Bennett 


Falk 


Balance 




o 





+ 


Weight 




+ 


- 


+ 


Button control 




- 


- 


+ 


Manual controls 







- 


- 


Auto settings 




+ 





+ 


Zoom 







- 


+ 


Monitor panel 




- 





- 


Lens 







- 


+ 


Shutter speed 










+ 


Low light performance 


+ 


- 


+ 


Overall camera 







- 


+ 



46 The Independent | January/February 2003 




LB: I believe the Panasonic AG-DVX100 
can create images of subtlety and beauty. 
Its image has a painterly quality. Its con- 
trols are intuitive and simple to use. I 
think that if you had the Cannon GL2 
and got to know it well, you could do 
creative work with it, but you would 
have to accept its limitations and hope- 
fully find a creative use for them. 




MS: If the Canon GL2 were 
sturdier, and had better but- 
ton control, it would be a great 
buy. The price is good, and if 
you are looking for good qual- 
ity footage that still looks like 
video, this may be the best 
value out there. 



Panasonic's AG-DVX100, commonly known as the Panasonic 24p, is the first mini- 
DV 3-CCD camcorder to introduce a feature that mimics the look and feel of film's 

twenty-four frames per second. The company's 

CineSwitch technology allows makers to choose 

between 480i/60 (NTSC), cinema-style 

480p/24fps, and 480p/30fps image capture. 

While the list price is around $3,800, this 

camera was so eagerly anticipated that when it 

hit the American market it could be found on 

the web for close to $4,800. 




Comments on the Panasonic AG-DVX100 

Falk: This camera is like a Ferrari inside the body of a Ford Fairmont. Get a new cabinetmaker to build you a housing worthy of the 
design that went into this baby. That, and an interchangeable lens, and you'll own this market. The feature set is amazing, from the 
XLR input to the extra large viewfinder. Also, the camera is designed for filmmakers. The slow zoom feature and memory recall 
system all focus on accommodating that guy, or girl, shooting the next indie success story. The 24p feature is pretty nice too. 

Sampson: The manual controls are pretty small and located close together. It's hard to use more than one of them at a time. But 
they do respond well and are intelligently placed on the camera. 

Falk: I gave the zoom a negative rating because of the flimsy nature of the zoom ring. When reaching for it you actually can jiggle 
the zoom. This can be very frustrating when you want to push in ever so slightly. 

Bennett: The auto iris worked well, but the best feature was that I could switch it off any time I wanted to. I was not happy with the 
auto focus even on objects in the dead center of the lens. Things looked sharper when I focused manually. 

Falk: The more I used the 24p feature, the more I fell in love with it. When first looking at it through the viewfinder it leaves a 
digital taste. But once I loaded the material onto my Final Cut Pro system, I was pleasantly surprised. 



Panasonic AG-DVX100 

Price: $3,795 Weight: 4.2 lbs. 

Features: ■ 1/3" progressive-scan 410,000 pixel 3-CCD imager 

■ More than 500 lines of horizontal resolution ■ Low light performance 
of 3 lux (at 18dB) ■ High sensitivity of f 1 1 at 2000 lux ■ Wide-angle 
zoom lens (4.5mm to 45mm with a 56-degree viewing angle) 

■ Servo/manual zoom 

■ Auto/manual focus with 72mm filter size ■ Auto/Manual iris 

■ 16-bit/48kHz digital audio with two-channel ■ Built-in XLR inputs 

■ Phantom power supply (48V) ■ Manual audio volume controls 

■ Flip-out, 270-degree, 3.5" LCD panel 

Accessories included: ■ 1.6Ah battery ■ AC adapter/charger 

■ Microphone holder ■ Remote control ■ Shoulder strap ■ Lens cap 

■ Cleaning tape 



PANASONIC 





Sampson 


Bennett 


Falk 


Balance 




+ 


+ 


+ 


Weight 




+ 


+ 


+ 


Button control 







+ 


- 


Manual controls 




+ 


+ 


+ 


Auto settings 




+ 





+ 


Zoom 










- 


Monitor Panel 




+ 


+ 


+ 


Lens 




+ 


+ 


+ 


Shutter speed 




+ 








Low light performance 


+ 


+ 


+ 


24p feature 




+ 





+ 


Overall camera 




+ 


+ 


+ 



January/February 2003 | Thr Independent 47 




The Basics: 

Recording Sound 
for Digital Video 




By Bryant Falk 



Sound is one of those things that when it's done well, 
nobody notices, but when it's flawed, nobody ever 
really forgives. When an audience is sitting in the 
theater watching your finished project, poor audio is your 
worst enemy. Unlike a fuzzy, image that the eye will accept 
as a stylized effect, unintelligible dialogue or a constant 
buzz will turn your audience off faster than a light switch. 

The fact is nothing can replace a well-trained sound crew 
with a truck full of all the expensive equipment needed to 
properly record sound. But there are some practical tech- 
niques that help get reasonably good sound quality for an 
independent filmmaker trying to get his or her movie to a 
theater near vou on a budget of . . . well, at no budget. 

With mini-DV formatted cameras, or any other digital 
recorders, your best low-budget bet will be to record sound 
directly onto your camera's tape in sync with your image. 
One reason for this is that most digital video decks record 
near DAT (digital audio tape) quality recording. Another is 
that if you are already synced to picture you save yourself a 
lot of time in the editing suite trying to figure out what goes 
where. By recording both the image and the sound on digi- 
tal, you can get a pretty tight lock between sound and pic- 
ture without having to actually sync it, as long as your edits 
aren't more than twenty seconds each. The average edit in 
most films is four to six seconds. 

Since you're recording onto your camera, let's start by 
taking a look at how to get the sound in there. Some cam- 
eras have just an eighth-inch jack that is labeled mic/line. It 
looks like a headphone jack for a Sony Walkman. These 




jacks are an audio engineer's worst enemy. They are flimsy 
and tend to lose contact if the camera person is very active. 
If you're stuck in this scenario it's not the end of the world, 
but you'll save yourself a lot of heartache if you secure the 
connector to the camera using a little gaffer's tape. 

Another input connector you'll find on many digital 
cameras is the RCA connector. These come in batches of 
three: yellow, white, and red. This isn't a great setup, but 
it's not bad either. The last (and strongest) is the XLR con- 
nector. It looks like a flat bowling ball and comes in pairs, 
one for left and one for right. Each has three holes in it. If 
you have a choice, use a camera with an XLR input. It will 
give you the strongest, clearest, most reliable sound qual- 
ity. You can convert both an eighth-inch and an RCA to 
XLR by using the DXA-4S converter by BeachTek ($199) 

On most digital cameras, you have a choice of two audio 
input settings, 32K or 48K. On some cameras these may be 
labeled 12bit and 16bit, but they're basically the same thing. 
Since you'll be storing final sound on your camera, choose 
the higher number, either the 48K or the 16bit option. The 
smaller rate (32K) is there to allow additional audio chan- 
nels to be recorded, but we are about quality not quantity. 

I also strongly recommend running a backup audio 
device. This can be any digital device that you can interface 
with your audio input. A minidisc recorder, such as Sony's 
MD Walkman, although it is a compressed format, has 
portability and random access capabilities that really make 
it a winner in the field. The sound quality is much better 
than you might think, plus it has a long battery life. Other 
options are a DAT machine, a second digital camera, or 
even some laptops. Whatever backup unit you pick, make 
sure it's digital. Since there is no time code sync, a digital 
device will maintain a more accurate time clock than an 
analog backup, like a cassette recorder. 

The next important issue that you'll need to deal with is the 
pre-amp. All microphones need a baby amplifier to get the 
signal up to something usable. This is what's called the pre-amp 
or mic-pre. Once the pre-amp has boosted the signal, your mic 

Bryant Falk at work in the studio. 



48 The Independent | January/February 2003 



signal is now at what is called "line level," which basically means 
it's recordable. Cameras with XLR connectors have built-in 
pre-amps, as do some other cameras. This information should 
be included in the camera's manual. The BeachTek adapter also 
solves this problem. If you're in doubt about your camera's 
mic-pre, you're better off with an external one that you know 
has low noise and good clarity. My personal favorite is the Shure 
FP33 mixer. It's a portable multi-input mixer with excellent low 
noise characteristics. It's rather expensive to purchase ($1,795), 
but you can rent one for about $35 a day. Another solution is to 
use wireless lavalier mics that have pre-amps built in. 

This brings us to the question of which microphones to 
use. "Why can't I just use the mic from my camera," you 
ask? Well, there are a number of reasons. First, and most 
obvious, is the quality of the microphone. These mics are 
designed for a myriad of uses, which puts them in the "Jack 



if they are, the lav can be hidden somewhere nearby. 

When you're placing a lav, the goal is to get as close to 
the speaker as possible without being directly in front of 
the speaker. This ideal placement is commonly known as 
"off-access." Lapels are good as are collars and turtlenecks. 
If the person is stationary, as in the case of our diner, you 
can put it close to them by wiring the mic onto a coffee cup 
or a flower pot that doesn't move. 

Choosing a lav mic is as much a matter of personal taste as 
anything. A number of companies make them. The best thing 
to do is start out renting one so that you can experiment. Don't 
be afraid to spend a lot of time at the rental house trying them 
out to see what's going to work for you. You'll probably spend 
around $20 to $30 a day for a wired lav and $50 to $70 for a 
wireless. 

Lavs are generally the best mic for independent film- 



The only real use for the mics sold with cameras is if you're literally 
running after people, like for combat journalism or a shouu like Jackass. 



of all trades, master of none" category. The second problem 
is the placement. For the best sound you want to get the 
microphone as close to your subject as possible. When 
doing a medium or long shot, your microphone goes with 
the camera. Third, when mixing, it is much easier to make 
a close-miced voice sound far away than vice versa. Fourth, 
if you are adding effects to your sound (delays, reverb, 
room tone), quality results will be much easier to obtain 
with a full upfront dialogue track at the ready rather than 
the muddy recording you'll get from the mic attached to 
your camera. The only real use for the mics sold with cam- 
eras is if you're literally running after people, like for com- 
bat journalism or a show like Jackass. If you have the choice 
between buying an upgraded mic designed to go on a cam- 
era and spending an extra $100 on a lavalier, buy the lav. 

Today's lavalier microphones, the small ones you can 
hide under an actor's lapel, have come a long way. Their 
size has shrunk considerably and their frequency response 
has improved. While most of the lav mics you see on studio 
sets or on behind-the-scenes TV 7 shows are wireless, lav 
mics do not have to be wireless. In fact a wired lav mic often 
gives you a better signal than a wireless and it's a lor cheap- 
er to rent or buy. Example: You have two characters in a 
diner booth talking. If you're like many of my clients, you 
don't have the budget to rent the entire diner, fill it with 
extras who will mouth their words, and direct the waiters 
not to clang dishes while the camera's rolling. Instead, 
you're shooting in a real diner, with real people eating, and 
all the clanging, ringing, talking, and general loud ambi- 
ence that conies with it. This is where the wired lav mic can 
shine. It can be on the actors as long as they're nor getting 
up And walking our ot the room m the same take, and even 



makers with limited budgets and limited crews. They're rel- 
atively easy to use and don't require the extra person boom 
microphones do. If your project has a lot of motion and a 
lot of activity, and if you're shooting in a quiet setting, you 
might opt for a boom microphone. 

The boom microphone has a very directional quality to 
its sound pickup and allows the operator to focus in on 
specific audio. This means it will pick up the actor that the 
boom is focused on, and that you can go back and forth 
between two or more actors, something the lav really can't 
do. The thing to remember about boom mics is they're a lor 
more difficult to operate than they look, because the boom 
operator not only has to stay out of the frame but also 
needs to balance the recording of each actor. 

One recording technique 1 like to use is recording the 
boom mic on one channel and the lavalier mic on the other. 
The reason for this is the boom mic will have a much differ- 
ent sonic character than the lav mics, so keeping it separate 
will allow for greater control in the mix down. 

While I have only scratched the surface of audio record- 
ing for film and video in this limited space, hopefully I was 
able to offer a few bits of insight you'll be able to use during 
your next shoot. In the end, always try to get as full and up- 
front a voice as you can. And do the engineer mixing your 
project a huge favor: Record some room tone m every single 
location. This is simply the sound of the space without your 
actors' dialogue. It will be of immeasurable help CO a mixer 
trying to get you a quick and effective mix. 

Byrant Folk mm Abacus Somut m New York ' 'ity. His clients have 

included the NYKnicks, s/.V / ntertainment, Coca (Hi.!, loot locker, 

and a number of independent films. //:> e-mail is Bry3cpo<S>aoLcom 



January/February 2003 j The Independent 49 



Hold To: 

Build an Affordable 
Editing System 



By Greg Gilpatrick 



Last year in The Independent I put Together a list of all the items"I would purchase for my desktop video system if I had an 
unlimited budget. This year we're coming back to Earth and we're going to keep it real. Real, as in real cheap. Well, sort 
of cheap. You still can't put together an effective editing system with the change you find under your sofa cushions, but 
you can get a surprisingly useful system for not much more than you would pay for a regular home computer. Of course, 
there will be certain features missing from these low-cost products that appear in more expensive products. And since, as 
good consumers, you will want to know what you are missing out on, under each item there is a listing of what you get, 
and what you won't get, for the money. Of course, these are only suggestions; if you find better bargains or have sugges- 
tions of your own, let other readers know on our website's message board at www.aivf.org/discussion. 




Apple eMac 800MHz G4 with 
DVD-R Superdrive ($1,499) 

This computer looks expensive in 
contrast to some of the computers 
advertised on TV but as you'll see, it 
offers a considerable deal for inde- 
pendent mediamakers. Performance- 
wise the eMac stands up reasonably 
well against Apple's pro-oriented PowerMac G4 systems. 
The built-in display is large enough to use for editing, and 
the whole thing is powerful enough to run professional 
software like Final Cut Pro, Avid Xpress DV, After Effects, 
and, when you have the opportunity to upgrade, DVD 
Studio Pro. 

Of course, there are some drawbacks to the eMac when 
compared to the more expensive systems. The eMac 
doesn't allow you to significantly upgrade the hardware 
beside adding more RAM or an Airport-wireless card. This 
means that you can't add extra internal hard drives, a video 
digitizing card, or a second computer monitor. 

What you miss: PCI slots for adding video digitizing, 
SCSI, video display, and other cards; space for extra inter- 
nal hard drives; ability to add another display. 
What you get: solid performance; good display; firewire 
ports for capturing DV video and connecting external hard 
drives; ability to run higher-end software; free software for 
editing and making DVD's. 

Step down: Apple iMac G3/CD-RW with iMovie— slower; 
smaller monitor; no DVD burner; $799 
Step up: Apple PowerMac G4 (monitor extra)— DVD 
burner; faster; more expandability and upgrade options; 
SI, 699-54,599 



Firewire Hard Drive ($200-300) 

The eMac model above includes a 60GB internal hard drive 
which should be enough for many projects. But adding an 
external hard drive makes your media and project portable. 
You can then take it to other editing systems. And the addi- 
tional hard drive provides an extra defense against equip- 
ment failure by allowing you to back up your media and 
project. Since you cannot add an extra hard drive inside the 
eMac, an external hard drive using the firewire connection 
is the best (and pretty much only) type of backup to use for 
this video editing. 

There many different manufacturers of firewire hard 
drives, and for the most part, they are the same. The impor- 
tant thing is to select a hard drive that uses the Oxford 
Semiconductor 911 chip for its firewire bridge (the thing 
that communicates between the firewire connection and 
the hard drive itself). Most firewire hard drive makers use 
the Oxford 911 chip, but make sure. Also, you want a hard 
drive that spins at 7,200 RPM. 

What you miss: speed and reliability of an internal drive. 
What you get: portability, ease of use, backup solution. 

Apple iMovie and iDVD (free with eMac) 

Part of Apple's sales recovery over the past couple years is 
based on a strategy of developing software that will run 
solely on Macs. Some of that software is expensive and pro- 
fessionally-oriented, such as Final Cut Pro, but a great deal 
of this Apple-only software is given away for free as an 
enticement to buy a Mac. The two most significant prod- 
ucts for our system are iMovie and iDVD. Both of these 
were designed for amateur filmmakers that want to edit 
simple home movies and share them with their friends on 
DVD. While these programs offer only the basic features 



50 The Independent | January/February 2003 



found in post production software, they also 
include two valuable features rarely found in 
high-end software: They're easy to use and 
mostly trouble-free. 

iMovie 

Apple markets iMovie as a way to easily edit 
videos of your friends and family. And most 
people use iMovie just for that, but it also 
works well as editing software for more seri- 
ous projects. For example, Blaine Thurier 
used iMovie to edit Low Self Esteem Girl, a DV 
feature that won the Best Narrative Feature 
prize at SXSW in 2001. iMovie is no competi- 
tion for advanced editing programs such as 
Avid Xpress DV, but many independent edi- 
tors don't need all the extra features in more 
expensive programs. For many makers that 
are new to the process, the extra features in 
higher-end software can be confusing. And 
one thing I know for sure about iMovie is 
that it is not confusing. 

iMovie succeeds quite well at making video 
editing intuitive to those without an education 
in filmmaking. How iMovie makes it easy, 

though, is by stnp- 

ICfl P in § avva >' a hu § e 
number of the fea- 
tures that are com- 
monly found in 
video editing pro- 
grams. iMovie does 
away with tape log- 
ging, time code 
management, media management, split edits, 
three- and four-point editing, and EDL export- 
ing. If the idea of working without such features 
is unimaginable to you, look below for other 
low-cost ideas. 

The vast majority of independent produc- 
tions are finished on the same computer as 
they were edited on, which is what iMovie is 
designed for. Additionally, DV footage cap- 
tured with iMovie can be easily transferred 
between computers without loss of quality. 
One great strength to iMovie is that it stores its 
captured media as QuickTime files that can be 
opened by nearly even' editing program. For 
this reason, iMovie is also a good complement 
to programs like After Effects and Cleaner. 

What you miss: data and media manage- 
ment features; EDL import and export. 




tii m 



PRE-PURCHASE QUESTIONS: 

A responsible consumer would naturally have some questions 
before plunking down fifteen hundred big ones for a computer. 
Three of the most common questions are: 

Isn't it much cheaper to buy a used computer than a new one? 

Yes, used computers cost less up front, but typically they are not 
such a great deal in the long run. For one thing you miss out on an 
important feature of a new computer, the manufacturer's original 
warranty. "Whatever," I can hear you saying, "I'm an independent— 
I live dangerously. I don't need a warranty." Well, that's one way to 
look at it. Another is that you need a warranty because you are an 
independent. Independent makers do not have access to the tech 
support staff, repair budgets, and replacement equipment of big- 
budget productions. Regardless of how much you pay for it or what 
kind of reputation it has, some part of your editing system will 
probably require service at some point. With a warranty from the 
manufacturer, repairs are much less painful. 

Also, a new computer is shipped with its software in a pristine 
state. With a used computer, you have no idea what state software 
is in and getting it back in shape may take the skills of a consultant 
or technician whose fee will probably be more than the difference 
between a used and new computer. 

Aren't Macs more expensive than Windows-based PCs? 

You probably would spend less up front by purchasing a Windows- 
based PC, but Apple includes a significant amount of free software 
for making movies and DVDs with the eMac. Microsoft and PC 
manufacturers now also include video editing software for free 
with Windows XP, but it doesn't do nearly as good a job as Apple's 
offerings. Apple more than makes up the price difference with the 
included software. 

In addition, Apple makes it much easier for nontechnical people 
to set up their system for editing. With iMovie and iDVD, it literal- 
ly is a matter of unpacking the box, plugging the power cord in, and 
plugging your DV camera into the computer. It is unlikely that you 
would have such an easy time editing on a PC. It may seem reason- 
able to spend more time setting up the cheaper PC, but I gen-erally 
find that frustration with filmmaking tools takes a toll on creativ- 
ity, which is a greater loss than a couple hundred dollars. 

If I do get the eMac, why not buy the model that only 
costs $1,099? 

True, there is a significantly cheaper model of the eMac, hut the 
model with the DVD-R offers the best and most reliable method of 
creating DVD's in this price range. Even if you don't plan on mak- 
ing DVD's the DVD burner can come in handy as ah easy way to 
back up your video files for safekeeping. Bur if you are absolutely 
sure you won't be burning DVD's, and won't need to back up your 
files to DVD, the lesser model offers most of the functionality at a 
cheaper price. 



January/February 2003 | The Independent 51 



Where the deals are: Those in the market for a new 
computer, whether it's for video editing or not, should check 
out dealpc.com or dealmac.com. These related websites 
scour the internet for the best deals on computer products 
ranging from entire systems to blank DVD media. Many 
retailers put together special bundles of computers with 
upgrades thrown in that these sites seem to know about 
before anyone else. 

Pre-owned, not used: Buying a used computer isn't 
such a great idea, but buying a refurbished one is. Factory 
refurbished computers often offer the same warranty and 
features of a new computer for less than full price. Apple 
sells refurbished computers through their website 
in the "special deals" section of the online store 
(store.apple.com). Most PC manufacturers do the same at 
their websites. 

Educational deals: If you are a college student or 
faculty member, you have probably noticed that most educa- 
tional discounts on computers aren't that significant. You can 
probably find a better deal through mail order or the internet. 
But software companies often drastically reduce their prices 
for students and educators. If you can't find the media 
software you want at your campus bookstore, look at web 
and mail-order retailers that cater to education customers. For 
example, at press time, education-market retailer 
journeyed.com had Avid Xpress DV for $399 in comparison 
to the list price of $1 ,699. 

■ Burning to burn: Can't wait to burn a bunch of DVD's 
of your latest movie for your friends and colleagues? Be 
careful because the cost of those blank DVD disks can add 
up. Instead of buying a few disks at a time buy a bunch of 
blank DVD's on a spindle. Though the cost is much higher 
upfront, you will end up saving as much as half the pur- 
chasing cost. 

Alternative to DVD's: For more significant savings, 
make a VideoCD instead. VideoCDs are compatible with 
most DVD players but use the cheaper CD-R media and the 
nearly ubiquitous CD-R drive. There is one drawback, 
though. The image quality is lower than DVD's, closer to the 
quality of VHS. On the Mac, Roxio's Toast Titanium ($1 00) 
can be used to make VideoCDs. 

Warranty roulette: If the retailer you're buying your 
computer from is offering you a special warranty upgrade, it's 
probably not worth it unless it's a product of the computer's 
manufacturer, such as Apple's AppleCare. While extended 
warranties from the manufacturer are recommended, war- 
ranties offered by a third party will probably give you a lower 
level of service for a similar price. 

■ Indie movies with indie software: Free or low-cost 
freeware and shareware programs are the software equiva- 
lent of independent film. They are usually produced by indi- 
viduals or small groups of people working in their spare 
time. There are a few shareware programs that would be of 
help to makers, such as tape logging and cataloging soft- 
ware, story outlining, and rudimentary editing programs. 
Shareware and freeware software can be found on web- 
sites such as tucows.com and shareware.com. 



52 The Independent | January/February 2003 




What you get: simple and easy-to-learn editing pro- 
gram; near ubiquity of the software due to its cost; 
QuickTime-compliant storage. 

iDVD 

Just as iMovie offers an easy way to edit, so iDVD provides 
an easy way for nonprofessionals to make DVD videos. And 
considering how many professional editing features are left 
out of iMovie, iDVD surprises by offering many of the same 
features found in its big sister, DVD Studio Pro. With 
iDVD, you can easily create custom menus based on your 
own images or video. But with iDVD, you don't have to 
create your own menu 
images. iDVD includes a 
wide variety of predesigned 
templates that look much 
better than expected. DVD's 
made with iDVD can even 
be mass produced by facil- 
ities that accept DVD-R as 
a master. 

The only real drawback to 
iDVD is that it can't be used to create DVD's with content 
protection. This means that mass produced DVD's will not 
be protected from copying by viewers. 

What you miss: content protection; subtitles; alternate 

audio tracks; alternate angles; DVD scripting. 

What you get: simple and easy to learn; commonly 

used due to cost; common DVD features; integrated DVD 

burning. 

Higher-end editing: CineStream 
(PC/Mac $399) 

Editors looking for more advanced editing features like 
tape logging and EDL export will face a substantial jump 
in price over the free iMovie. But there are options that 
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books 



In Review 



By Brian L. Frye 



Visionary Film: The 
American Avant-Garde 
1943-2000 

3rd Edition 

by P. Adams Sitney 

©2002, Oxford University Press 

www.oup-usa.org 

When P. Adams Sitney finished 
Visionary Film in 1974, it was the first 
book to offer a comprehensive history 
of American avant-garde cinema. 
Andy Warhol's Chelsea Girls had only 
recently introduced "underground" 
film to popular audiences. Sitney 
wrote about films like Jack Smith's 
Flaming Creatures that, not many years 
earlier, exhibitors had faced obscenity 
charges for showing. 

Today, you can see those same 
films— or their progeny at least— on 
TV. The Library of Congress includes 
several of them in the National Film 
Registry. And yet, twenty-five years 
and three editions later, Visionary 
Film remains the definitive account 
of the American avant-garde. This 
ought to be surprising, but somehow 
isn't at all. 

Sitney was already an important 
figure in avant-garde cinema when 
he wrote Visionary Film. A member of 
the committee that selected the films 
for the Anthology Film Archives' 
Essential Cinema Collection and an 
editor of the journal Film Culture, he 
was not just an observer, but a partici- 
pant in the movement he was chroni- 
cling. Not only did he know all of the 
artists he wrote about, he knew their 
films intimately because he was travel- 
ing with those films, showing and 
watching them over and over. 

Those repeated viewings, and the 
close attention they engendered, show 
in Sitney's writing. And they show in 
his ability to speak to the films them- 



amply evident. An understated rever- 
ence replaces the ideological postur- 
ing and fashionable disdain for actual 
artwork that still stains so much con- 
temporary academic writing on avant- 
garde film, 
selves, rather than to grand theories But Visionary Film is never pre- 

purporting to explain them. Sitney cious; in fact, Sitney is a noted wit. His 



insists on the kind of close textual 
analysis few film scholars bother to 
attempt today. When he compares 
Brakhage's films to romantic poetry, 
or discusses Markopoulos in the con- 
text of symbolism, it is not because 
the films are a convenient way of illus- 
trating some inane theoretical point 
nicked from Lacan or Derrida. It is 
because those analo- 
gies actually make it 
easier to understand 
what Brakhage and 
Markopoulos were 
doing. 

Still, over the years, 
Visionary Film has 
come in for plenty 
of criticism. Some 
seems almost quaint 
now. For instance, 
many filmmakers once 
strenuously objected 
to Sitney's use of the 




wry evisceration of the Marxist theo- 
rist/filmmaker Peter Gidal, in a debate 
printed in Millennium Film Journal, 
never fails to induce snickers. And the 
postmodernists (and post-postmod- 
ernists) who were his most vocal 
critics in the eighties become more 
irrelevant every year. The ironist in 
Sitney must appreciate the peculiar 
appositeness of the fact 
that the key critic of 
the avant-garde cinema— 
which by all rights 
ought to be a bastion 
of post-modernism— is a 
Romantic. 

In this new edition, 
Sitney is remarkably gen- 
erous to his past detrac- 
tors, especially consider- 
ing the vitriol that, as the 
biggest and most conven- 
ient target, he had to 
endure for years. The 
uimilitv with which he 



The American 
ava nt - g a r d e. 
1943-2DOO 



term "structural" to describe certain genia 
films that explore the formal qualities acknowledges the shortcomings of his 
of the medium, on the ground that it own work, while refraining from sub- 
mistakenly implied a connection to jeering his accusers to the same treat- 
Structuralism. Luckily, those sorts of ment, is admirable. And he calls their 
worries are now basically moot. Even bluff by discussing several artists 
academics don't much bother with favored by his detractors, notably 
Structuralism anymore. Yvonne Rainer, Abigail Child, and 

More significantly, in the ideologi- Leslie Thornton. What's more, his 

cally-obsessed eighties, Sitney was thoughtful commentary on their films 

mau-mau'ed by radicalized critics for is actually helpful (especially in the case 

his apolitical approach to the avant- of Rainer), and aesthetically engaged. 

garde in Visionary Film. At a time when as opposed to cribbed from Derrida. 

the big critical question was whether a Thankfully, most of Sitney's ideo- 

given film was likely to spark proletar- logically motivated critics (.md espe- 

ian revolution, or KO the patriarchy, daily the films they championed) have 

politically disinterested art criticism faded into well-deserved obscurity. 

was simply unacceptable. But still, the academy rarely sits crit- 

In the introduction to Visionary ics like Sitney anymore. He is a 

Film, Sitney acknowledges his debt to holdover from a time when academics 

Harold Bloom, whose influence is wanted and expected their writing to 



January/ February 2003 | The Independent 53 



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reach a popular audience. Anyone 
familiar with recent academic writing 
on film will marvel at the lucid clarity 
of Sitney's prose. Most contemporary 
film scholarship reads as if it were 
excerpted from a German textbook 
and translated with a bad dictionary. 
In contrast, when Sitney describes a 
film, it's almost possible to imagine 
what it looks like. 

The new edition of Visionary Film 
differs from previous editions in two 
significant respects. First, it includes a 
chapter on Gregory Markopoulos, 
omitted from the second edition 
for copyright reasons. Markopoulos 
enthusiasts have long regretted the rel- 
ative difficulty of locating a copy of the 
first edition and, given the recent 
revival of interest in Markopoulos's 
films, this reissue is especially welcome. 

Second, as the second edition 
included a chapter covering the seven- 
ties, the new edition includes a chap- 
ter covering the period from the eight- 
ies to the present. Obviously the most 
anticipated addition, it is also the 
most frustrating. Sitney's observa- 
tions are predictably insightful. His 
ability to casually distill the essential 
character of historical trends is evi- 
dent in his discussion of postmod- 
ernism's influence on the avant-garde 
in relation to Menippean drama. 
Sitney often says more about a film in 
one paragraph than many critics can 
in an entire article. And yet, it's imme- 
diately apparent that this new chapter 
didn't receive the same sort of atten- 
tion as the rest of the book. The analy- 
sis is more cursory, the observations 
are more general, and the writing 
itself is less precise. Even the editing is 
rough, with some misspelled names 
and typos. There's no question that 
Sitney is capable of better. So here's 
hoping that his first new offering in 
far too long is but an indication of 
more to come. O 

Brian Frye is a filmmaker, curator, and writer 

currently living in Washington, DC, and 

attending Georgetown University Law Center. 



54 The Independent | January/February 2003 



legal 



Joint Venture 
Agreement 

PREPARING THE PREPRODUCTION PRENUP 



By Robert L. Seigel 



It is a part of human nature to avoid 
dealing with difficult issues regard- 
ing any relationship, whether per- 
sonal or professional, particularly in 
the early stages of the relationship. 
When I meet with two (or more) 
clients who are in this initial stage 
and wish to work together to 
produce a film, a video, or some 
other audio-visual, I usually suggest 
that this is the time for them to enter 
into a "joint venture agreement." 

Sometimes one person will be desig- 
nated as a project's producer while the 
other person may serve as the director. 
One of the parties often has written, or 
controls the rights in and to, the pro- 
ject's script. Occasionally both clients 



ship agreement. It is usually formed 
for a single project. This agreement 
specifies the parties' rights and 
obligations pertaining to the project. 
It is a sort of business-relationship 
prenuptial agreement in which the 
parties lay out what is expected of 
them and what happens if a problem 
occurs between or amongst the 
parties. A joint venture agreement can 
involve two, three, or more parties. If 
the joint venture agreement addresses 
key issues comprehensively, the 
parties often can sign it, place it in a 
drawer, and only look at it when a 
problem arises. 

The joint venture is often a prelim- 
inary step taken before forming a 



deemed to have lapsed and the 
script's rights would remain with the 
party that wrote or controls the 
script's rights without any encum- 
brances. But if the joint venture or 
one of the parties has spent any 
money on the script's development, 
or made a financial contribution to 
the script in some other way, the ver- 
ifiable out-of-pocket expenses must 
be repaid before the owner of the 
rights to the script can be free to 
work with other persons or entities 
to produce the project once the ven- 
ture's term has ended. The joint ven- 
ture parties sometimes will permit 
such expenses to be excused without 
any right to repayment to a party. 
This point should be negotiated. 

There should also be a provision 
in the agreement that states what is 
expected of each of the parties. A 
party's contribution to a venture can 
include the project's script (or any 
underlying rights to a script), fund- 
ing, development, production, mar- 




If the joint venture agreement addresses 
key issues comprehensively, the parties 
often can sign it, place it in a drawer, and only 
look at it when a problem arises. 



are designated as producers and they 
either have a director in mind or are 
seeking one. At this early stage the 
stakes are relatively low. A small sum of 
money may have been spent, but the 
bulk of the project's financing still 
needs to be raised. The purpose of 
entering into a joint venture agreement 
is to clarify many possible misunder- 
standings in the future. Such an agree- 
ment also decreases the chances of ani- 
mosity growing among the parties later 
in the heat of developing, producing, 
or distributing a project, because the 
guidelines for resolving problems have 
already been agreed upon. 

A joint venture agreement is just 
another way of referring to a partner- 



production entity such as a limited 
liability company or a corporation, 
once a project's funding begins to fall 
into place. A joint venture can last 
anywhere from a few months to 
years. The norm is six months to two 
years. If one of the parties wrote or 
otherwise controls the rights to the 
project's script, that party's contribu- 
tion to the joint venture would 
include the option of the script, with 
the venture having the right to 
acquire the script's rights before the 
end of the agreement's term. If the 
venture's term should end and the 
venture (or a subsequently formed 
production entity) has not acquired 
the rights, the option would be 



keting or distribution resources, or 
skills, or the promise to use best 
efforts by each party to secure 
financing, to locate resources, or to 
render services. 

One of the most important provi- 
sions in a joint venture agreement 
addresses how the parties make de< i 
sions. Often the parties will divide the 
types of decisions made on hehalt ol a 
venture into creative and business 
(i.e., economic) decisions, each party 
taking responsibility for a specif ied 
area. Although creative and business 
decisions often overlap, < reative deci- 
sions can be separated into two cate- 
gories: those creative decisions that 
require the additional allocation and 



January/February 2003 | The Independent 55 




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VHS. $15 entry fee. If you attend we house you for free. Congrats to 
last year's winners: Rosemary Rodriguez's "Acts of Worship"; Beth 
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expenditure of funds, and those cre- 
ative decisions that do not affect a 
project's budget. 

If none of the parties is to be a pro- 
ject's director, the selection of a 
director may require the parties' 
unanimous approval. This decision 
and other decisions may also be sub- 
ject to the approval of a project's fin- 
ancier. Whether one of the parties 
shall be designated as the project's 
director or a third party is to be 
engaged as the director should be a 
decision all the parties attempt to 
reach a consensus on. But there 
should be some mechanism in the 
contract to address those times when 
a consensus cannot be reached. 
Regardless of the nature of the deci- 
sion, there are several options that 
can be put in place to resolve dis- 
agreements. First, there can be an 
agreement that a decision must be 
unanimous or the decision is not 
made. This method of decision-mak- 
ing works well for issues such as the 
selection of cast, crew, and director, 
but it can result in a deadlock if the 
parties are unable to agree. Second, a 
third party, approved by the partners, 
may be brought in whose decision 
will be final. This option can be 
avoided if there are an odd number of 
parties in a joint venture and issues 
may arise if there is difficulty decid- 
ing who should be designated as the 
third-party tiebreaker. Third, the 
final decision may be deferred to a 
party because of expertise in a certain 
area or because that party has 
secured financing or distribution for 
a project. This type of decision-mak- 
ing may be a condition to forming 
the venture and to producing the 
project. 

The agreement can also state that 
expenditures above a certain mone- 
tary level require the (usually written) 
approval of all the venture's parties. 
This provision can be problematic if 
one of the parties may be unavailable 
or inaccessible during the venture's 
term or the production of the project. 



56 The Independent | January/ February 2003 




THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT 
VIDEO AND FILMMAKERS 



TO SUCCEED AS AN INDEPENDENT 
you need a wealth of resources, 
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information available. Whether 
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Offering support for individuals and 
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If this is an issue, a third party can be 
selected as an alternative signatory 
for expenditures above the agreed 
upon amount, or the agreement can 
provide a grace period during which 
the unavailable party must contact 
the venture's other party/parties or 
the right to approve the expense is 
waived. If a party accesses monies to 
pay for an unauthorized expenditure, 
the agreement should acknowledge 
that the party would be personally 
responsible for repaying the money 
spent. In the area of compensation, 
the joint venture agreement may state 
the specific figures reflecting how 
much money will be paid to each 
party for certain services, or the par- 
ties may agree to equal compensation, 
whether it is upfront, deferred, or 
contingent on future earning (i.e., on 
the back end). 

One of the troublesome issues 
regarding compensation that should 
be addressed in a joint venture agree- 
ment is what happens if one of the 
parties leaves the project before the 
term is over, whether voluntarily or 
otherwise. There should be a prorat- 
ing of a departing party's compensa- 
tion that is tied to when the party 
leaves the project. If the departure is 
in the early stage, less compensation 
should be granted than if the party 
departs at a later stage of the project. 
This point is a highly contested issue 
that should be defined in the joint 
venture agreement. 

A similar issue is that concerning 
the allocation of the screen credits. A 
party's credit should be subject to that 
party's substantial or full compliance 
to the venture's terms and the render- 
ing of services as designated in the 
joint venture agreement. This credit 
provision should state how the credits 
should read and appear on all positive 
copies of the project and in its promo- 
tional and advertising materials. This 
issue can also be dealt with by stating 
in the joint venture agreement that 
one party's credit shall appear when- 
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credic(s) appear. Again, this can be a 
highly negotiated provision. 

A joint venture generally terminates 
when its term expires. It can be 
extended by the parties' unanimous 
consent. But a joint venture may be 
dissolved early if certain laws have not 
been complied with or if the venture 
may be compelled to seek bankruptcy 
protection. 

If a joint venture's parties reside in 
different locations, there should be a 
provision that acknowledges which 
country's or state's laws should gov- 
ern disputes by the parties. 

There are other common provisions 
in a joint venture agreement. Issues 
such as how monies should be allocat- 
ed in terms of repaying any loans, 
repaying any investments made by the 
parties in the venture, or to third par- 
ties should be addressed. The ques- 
tion of whether or not each party is 
free to pursue other business oppor- 
tunities unrelated to the venture with- 
out having to ask if the other parties 
in the venture wish to participate 
should be answered. And assurances 
should be offered by the party who 
has the script's rights (or, the right to 
acquire these rights which may 
include its underlying rights) that the 
party does in fact have the rights. 

These issues are certainly uncom- 
fortable to discuss in the early stage of 
a partnership. But people who under- 
go this process will ultimately realize 
that if they can weather the storm of 
negotiating a joint venture agreement, 
they will have a better chance of deal- 
ing effectively with the difficult issues 
that will arise in the production and 
distribution trenches. D 



Robert L. Seigel is a NYC entertainment 

attorney and a partner in the law firm of 

Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP. 

He specializes in the representation of clients 

in the entertainment and media areas. 

To reach him, write to Rlsentlaw@aol.com 

or rseigel@cdas. com. 



58 The Independent | January/February 2003 



Festivals 

By Bo Mehrad 

Listings do not constitute an endorse- 
ment. We recommend that you con- 
tact the festival directly before send- 
ing cassettes, as details may change 
after the magazine goes to press. 
Deadline: 1st of the month two 
months prior to cover date (e.g., 
March 1st for May issue). Include fes- 
tival dates, categories, prizes, entry 
fees, deadlines, formats & contact 
info. Send to: festivals@aivf.org. 



INTERACTIVE 

FESTIVALS ARE AVAILABLE AT 

WWWJVIVF.ORG 



DOMESTIC 

ABSOLUTE TIME FILM FESTIVAL, March 
14-16, CA. Deadline: Jan. 15, Fest seeks 

feature length narrative films written, pro- 
duced and/or directed by women or people 



$15 (films); $10 (scripts). Contact: Terra 
Renee, 545 8th Ave, Ste. 401 , New York, NY 
10018; (212) 769-7949; fax: 871-2074; 
aawic@hotmail.com; www.aawic.org. 

ANTELOPE VALLEY INDEPENDENT FILM 
FESTIVAL, May 9-11, CA. Deadline: Feb. 1 
(early); March 1 (final). Antelope Valley 
Independent Film Festival eagerly seeks 
short & feature films of all genres & formats 
for its annual fest. Experimental Films are 
encouraged. All films will be screened in 
their original formats. Cats: short, doc, exper- 
imental. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta, 
DigiBeta. Entry Fee: $20 (early); $40 (final). 
Contact: AVIFF, 3041 West Avenue K, 
Lancaster, CA 93536; (661) 722-6478; fax: 
943-5573; info@aviff.com; www.aviff.com. 

ATHENS INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, April 26- 
May 4, OH. Deadline: Feb. 14. Annual fest 
acknowledging current technical possibilities 
in film/video production. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, 1/2", S-VHS, Beta, Beta SP, U-matic. 
Preview on VHS (NTSC), 16mm. Entry Fee: 
$35, plus S.A.S.E./insurance. Contact: 
Athens Center for Film & Video, Box 
388, Rm. 407, 75 W. Union St, Athens, OH 
45701; (740) 593-1330; fax: 597-2560; 
bradley@ohiou.edu; www.athensfest.org. 




Great New Works 
by Women of Color 

This New York-based festival was conceived by 
the group African American Women in Cinema, a 
nonprofit organization whose mission is to "sup- 
port minority women filmmakers through enlight- 
enment, empowerment, entertainment, education, and enterprise." To date, AAWIC 
has hosted five festivals, with the 2002 fest held at New York's DGA Theater. The 
event featured noteworthy filmmakers such as Kasi Lemmons {Caveman Valentine), 
Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust), and a lineup including Natalia Almada's All 
Water Has Perfect Memory (above). See listing. 



of color or subjects that reflect cross-cultural 
understanding. Entry Fee: $20. Contact: San 
Francisco Stage & Film, 2215-R Market St., 
PMB #273, San Francisco, CA 941 1 4; (415) 
401-9768; sfstagefilm@aol.com. 

AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN IN CINE- 
MA FILM FESTIVAL, March 7-8, NY. 
Deadline: Jan. 8. Fest seeks Films & Scripts 
by women who are of the African, Latino or 
Asian Diaspora. Cats: feature, doc, short, 
script, animation. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 



ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL, June 6-14, GA. 
Deadline: Feb. 3. Award-winning short narra- 
tive/animation/experimental works are eligi- 
ble for Academy Award nomination. Founded: 
1977. Cats: any style or genre, feature, doc, 
short, animation, experimental, student, youth 
media. Awards: Over $100,000 in cash & in- 
kind prizes. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 1/2", 
Beta, Beta SP. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$40 (individual/nonprofit); $30 (IMAGE 
members/students); $50 (distrib./for-profit). 



Contact: Paul Marchant, IMAGE Film/Video 
Center, 75 Bennett St. NW, Ste. N1, Atlanta, 
GA 30309; (404) 352-4225; fax: 352-01 73; 
aff@imagefv.org; www.atlantafilmfest.com. 

AVIGNON/NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL 

April 6-13, NY. Deadline: Feb. 21 . NYC spring 
fest is the American version of the 20-year- 
old Avignon Film Fest. Founded: 1994. Cats: 
any style or genre, feature, doc, short. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Preview on VHS 
(NTSC, PAL or SECAM). Entry Fee: $25. 
Contact: Jerome Rudes, 44 Hudson Street, 
2nd Fir, New York, NY 10013; (212) 343- 
2675; fax: 587-1950; jhr2001@aol.com; 
www.avignonfilmfest.com. 

BLACK POINT FILM AND VIDEO FESTI- 
VAL, April 23-27, Wl. Deadline: Jan. 3; Feb. 7 
(final). A film, video, music, arts fest celebrat- 
ing "an independent vision." Any genre, any 
format, any length. Founded: 2002. Cats: any 
style or genre. Awards: 3 shorts awards, 6 
feature awards incl. audience & doc. Cash 
prizes. Formats: 35mm, 1/2", DVD, Beta SP. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $20 (short); 
$40 (feature); $25 (late-short); $50 (late- 
feature). Contact: Richard Paro, 3235 
Chicago Club Drive, Delavan, Wl 53115; 
(262) 740-BPFF; richardparo@yahoo.com; 
www.blackpointfilmfest.com. 

BROOKLYN INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, April 
28-May 4, NY. Deadline: Oct. 15; Jan. 15 
(late); Feb. 1 5 (final). Annual fest (formerly 
the Williamsburg Brooklyn Film Festival), held 
at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Founded: 
1997 Cats: feature, doc, experimental, short, 
animation. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 
1/2", S-VHS, Beta SP, Super 8, 8mm, Hi 8, 
DV, DVD, Beta, CD-ROM. Preview on VHS 
(nonreturnable). Entry Fee: $20; $40 (late); 
$50 (final). Contact: Mario Pego, 180 South 
4th St., Ste. 2 S, Brooklyn, NY 1 121 1 ; (718) 
388-4306; fax: 599-5039; mario@wbff.org; 
www.wbff.org. 

CAROLINA FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, 

Feb. 19-22, NC. Deadline: Jan. 15. Founded: 
1989. Cats: any style or genre. Formats: 
16mm, Beta SP, VHS, 1/2", S-VHS, DV. 
Preview on VHS (NTSC). Entry Fee: 
$30 (student); $40; $50 (screenplay). 
Contact: Festival, P.O. Box 26170, 
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170; (336) 334- 
4197; fax: 334-5039; cfvf@uncg.edu; 
www.carolinafilmandvideofest.org. 

DANCES WITH FILMS, April 25-May 5, CA. 
Deadline: Feb. 7; March 7 (final). Dances With 



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Films promises "No politics. No stars. No shit." 
Festival is a competitive event featuring a line- 
up of a dozen feature-length narrative films & 
a dozen narrative shorts. Founded: 1998. 
Cats: family, youth media, feature, doc, short, 
animation, experimental. Formats: Beta SP, 
1 6mm, 35mm, DV. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$60 (feature); $40 (short); all late entries are 
$75. Contact: Michael "Trent, 1041 North 
Formosa Ave., Formosa Bldg., 2nd FL, West 
Hollywood, CA 90046; (323) 850-2929; 
fax: 850-2928; info@dancesw/films.com; 
www.DancesWithFilms.com. 

DANCING FOR THE CAMERA: INT'L FES- 
TIVAL OF FILM AND VIDEO DANCE, Jun. 
5-Jul. 19, NC. Deadline: March 1. Fest solic- 
its dance-related work for juried public 
screenings at the American Dance Festival in 
Durham, NC. Founded: 1996. Cats: doc, 
short, experimental, student. Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: None. Contact: American Dance 
Festival, 1697 Broadway, Rm. 900, New 
York, NY 10019; (212) 586-1925; fax: 
397-1 196; adfny@americandancefest.org; 
www.americandancefest.org. 

FAIRFAX DOC FILM FESTIVAL, April 4-5, CA. 
Deadline: Feb. 15. Doc shorts & features are 
accepted. Festival seeks works by filmmakers 
working in Northern California. No entry form 
required. Founded: 1999, Cats: doc, Awards: 
Award for Best of Fest selected by audience. 
Formats: Beta SP. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
No fee. Contact: David Weinsoff, 1 38 Ridgeway 
Ave., Fairfax, CA 94930; (41 5) 460-9760; fax: 
460-9762; Weinsoff@ix.netcom.com. 

HI MOM! FILM FESTIVAL, April 3-5, NC. 
Deadline: Jan. 1 (early); Jan. 31 (final). 
Festival is accepting short shorts & not-so- 
short shorts w/ deep thoughts & shallow 
pockets. Cats: short, any style or genre. 
Formats: DVD, Beta SP, Hi 8, CD-ROM, 
Super 8, 35mm, 16mm, 1/2", Mini-DV. 
Preview on VHS (PAL or NTSC). Entry Fee: 
None (early); $15 (final). Contact: Matt Hedt, 
PO Box 550, Carrboro, NC 27510; 
(919) 967-4338; himomfilmfest@yahoo.com; 
www.himomfilmfest.org. 

HUMBOLDT INT'L SHORT FILM FESTI- 
VAL, March 29-April 5, CA. Deadline: Jan. 3 1 , 
Feb. 1 4 (late). Founded: 1 967 Cats: narrative, 
experimental, animation, doc, & the "you call 
it" category, short, any style or genre. 
Formats: 16mm, Super 8. Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: $10 (under 9 min.); $20 (10-29 
mm.); $30 (30-60 min); $10 additional for 
int'l entries. Contact: Jordan Packer, Dept. of 



Theater, Film & Dance, Humboldt State 
Univ., Areata, CA 95521; (707) 826-4113; 
fax: 826-4112; filmfest@humboldt.edu; 
www.humboldt.edu/~filmfest. 

INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL OF 
BOSTON, May 1-4, MA. Deadline: Jan. 30; 
March 1 (late). Fest was created to discover 
unknown filmmakers, incl. students, first-timers 
& int'l directors. Cats: any style or genre, fea- 
ture, doc, short. Entry Fee: $1 5/$20 (student); 
$25/$35 (under 30 min.); $35/$45 (over 30 
min.). Contact: Festival, 44 School Street, PMB 
385, Boston, MA 02108; (857) 891-8693; 
info@iffboston.org; www.iffboston.org. 

INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL, April 17-26, CA. 
Deadline: Feb. 1 . The Indian Film Festival of Los 
Angeles is a nonprofit organization devoted to 
providing the public w/ the opportunity to view 
a selection of films about India by Indian & int'l 
filmmakers, paving the way for a greater appre- 
ciation of India's cinema & diverse cul- 
ture. Cats: feature, doc, short. Awards: 
Audience Award in all cats. Entry Fee: $30 
(up to 60 min.); $40 (over 60 min.). 
Contact:Christina Marouda, 31 1 N. Robertson 
Blvd. Ste. 382, Beverly Hills, CA 90211; 
(310) 278-8270; fax: 278-3499; cmarouda® 
indianfilmfest.org; www.indianfilmfest.org. 

I NT'L Wl LDLI FE Fl LM FESTIVAL, Apr. 1 9-26, 
MT. Deadline: Jan. 17. Created & based in 
Missoula, Montana, the fest is the world's 
longest-running juried wildlife film competi- 
tion & fest. Formats: NTSC Beta, NTSC Beta 
SP, NTSC DigiBeta, VHS, S-VHS, PAL. Entry 
Fee: $25-$200 (depending on cat, see 
above). Contact: Alison Garrity, IWFF, 718 S 
Higgins, Missoula, MT 59801; (406) 728- 
9380; fax: 728-2881; iwff@wildlifefilms.org; 
www.wildlifefilms.org. 

IOWA CITY INT'L DOC FESTIVAL, March 28- 
30, IA, Deadline: Jan. 1 5; Jan. 31 (late). A com- 
petitive fest showcasing short documentaries. 
Length of entries is limited to 30 min. Founded: 
2002. Cats: doc. Awards: Cash prizes, Formats: 
1/2", 35mm, 16mm. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $20; $25 (late). Contact: V. Sipes, P.O, Box 
10008, Iowa City, IA 52240; (319) 335-3258; 
info@ICDocs.org; www.icdocs.org. 

LOS ANGELES ITALIAN FILM FESTIVAL, 

April 22-26, CA. Deadline: Jan 31. Founded: 
1 998. Cats: feature, short. Awards: The fes- 
tial will present the LAI FA Award for Best 
Picture (Italian & Italian-American), Awards & 
Certificates for various placements & the 
People's Choice Award for the most popular 



60 The Independent | January/February 2003 



film short & feature. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $50. Contact: Festival, P.O. Box 
93914, Hollywood, CA 90093; (323) 850- 
7245; fax: 436-2928; info@italfilmfest.com; 
www.italfilmfest.com. 

MOONDANCE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, May 

15-18, CO. Deadline: Jan. 31. Moondance 
encourages & promotes screenwriters & film- 
makers. Held in Boulder, Colorado, the compe- 
tition is open to all writers & indie filmmakers. 
Cats: Feature, Doc, Animation, short, experi- 
mental, script, music video, student, youth 
media, family, children, TV, any style or genre, 
radio drama, puppetry theater, lyrics & libretti, TV 
MOW's, TV Episodes, Stage plays. Formats: 
Beta SP, DVD. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $25 
animation; $50 (shorts); $75 (features). 
Contact: Festival, 6472 Robin Drive, Niwot, CO 
80503; (303) 545-0202; moondanceff@aol.com; 
www.moondancefilmfestcom. 

NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS, March 
26-April 6, NY. Deadline: January 8. Highly 
regarded noncompetitive series presented by 
Film Society of Lincoln Center & Museum of 
Modern Art. Fest presents average of 23 fea- 
tures & 15 shorts each yr. at MOMA. 
Founded: 1972. Cats: TV, feature, doc, short, 
animation, experimental, student. Awards: 
None. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: None. Contact: Sara 
Bensman, c/o Film Society of Lincoln Center, 
70 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 
10023; (212) 875-5638; fax: 875-5636; 
sbensman@filmlinc.com; www.filmlinc.com. 

NEW YORK ASIAN AMERICAN INT'L FILM 
FESTIVAL, July 20-28, NY. Deadline: Feb. 1. 
Founded by Asian CineVision in 1 978, the fest is 
the oldest fest in the US showcasing works 
by film & video makers of Asian decent. Found- 
ed: 1978. Cats: feature, doc, short anima- 
tion, experimental, script. Awards: Emerging 
Director Award (1st/2nd time feature di- 
rectors); Screenplay Award. Formats: 35mm, 
1 6mm, Beta SP 1 /2". Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $10-$35 member/non-member. Contact: 
Asian CineVision, 133 W. 19th Street, 
3rd FL, New York, NY 10011; (212) 989- 
1 422; fax: 727-3584; info@asiancinevision.org; 
www.asiancinevision.org. 

NEWPORT INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, June 1 0- 
15, Rl. Deadline: Feb. 1. Founded: 1998. 
Cats: Feature, Doc, Short, Animation. 
Formats: 16mm, 35mm, Beta SP. Entry 
fee: $30 (shorts); $40 (features & docs). 
Contact: Nancy Donahoe, PO Box 1229, 
Old Chelsea Satation, New York, NY 



13 Call for Entries 




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January/February 2003 ! The Independent 61 



festivals 



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10113; (401) 261-1054; fax: 245-501 1; 
newportff@aol.com; www.newportfilmfest.com. 

OUTFEST: THE LOS ANGELES GAY AND 
LESBIAN FILM FESTIVAL, July 10-21, CA. 
Deadline: Jan. 31 (early); March 14 (late). 
The mission of Outfest is to build bridges 
among audiences, filmmakers & the enter- 
tainment industry through the exhibition of 
high-quality gay, lesbian, bisexual & trans- 
gender themed films & videos, highlighted 
by an annual test, that enlighten, educate 
& entertain the diverse communities of 
Southern California. Founded: 1982. Cats: 
Feature, Doc, Short, Gay/Lesbian, Animation, 
Experimental. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 
1/2", Beta SP. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
Features (over 60 min.): $25, $35 (late); 
Shorts: $15, $25 (late); Screenwriting Lab 
$25 (1/31 only). Contact: Festival, 3470 
Wilshire Blvd, Ste. 1022, Los Angeles, CA 
90010; (213) 480-7088; fax:: 480-7099; 
programming@outfest.org; www.outfest.org. 

ROCHESTER INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, May 

1 -3, NY. Deadline: Nov. 29, 2002 (early); Feb. 
14 (final). Annual test is the longest-running 
film event dedicated to the art of short film & 
video. Founded: 1959. Cats: any style or 
genre, short. No music videos or installations. 
Formats: 16mm, 1/2", 3/4", 35mm, DigiBeta. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $20 (early); $30 
(final). Contact: Movies on a Shoestring, Box 
17746, Rochester, NY 14617; (716) 234- 
741 1; President@RochesterFilmFest.org; 
www.RochesterFilmFest.org. 

SAN FRANCISCO INT'L LESBIAN & GAY 
FILM FESTIVAL, June 14-24, CA. Deadline: 
Jan. 10, Feb. 3 (late). The SFILGFF is com- 
mitted to screening the best in Lesbian, Gay, 
Bisexual & Transgender Film. Many works 
premiered in fest go on to be programmed 
or distributed nat'lly & int'lly. Rough cuts 
accepted for preview if submitted on 1/2". 
Fest produced by Frameline, nonprofit arts 
organization dedicated to gay & lesbian 
media arts. Founded: 1976. Cats: any style or 
genre. Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm (w/ Optical 
Track ONLY), 1/2", Beta, VHS, NTSC/PAL. 
Entry Fee: $15-25. Contact: Cindy Emch, 
146 9th St., Ste. 300, San Francisco, CA 
94103; (415) 703-8650; fax: 861-1404; 
info@frameline.org; www.frameline.org. 

SAN FRANCISCO SEX WORKERS' FILM 
AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, May, CA. Deadline: 
Feb. 1 5. Fest "provides a forum for the 
accomplishments of sex worker film & 
videomakers in a contemporary cinema." 



62 The Independent | January/February 2003 



Works must be directed/produced by 
someone who has worked in the sex indus- 
tries or be about any aspect of sex work 
or sex industries. Founded: 1999. Cats: 
feature, doc, short, experimental, animation, 
music video, student, youth media, 
installation, any style or genre. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, 1/2", 3/4", U-matic, DV (mini- 
DV preferred for screening). Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: $25. Contact: Carol Leigh, 
Box 210256, San Francisco, CA 94121; 
(415) 751-1659; swfest@bayswan.org; 
www.bayswan.org/swfest.html. 

SEATTLE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, May 22- 

June 15, WA. Deadline: March 1. Fest is 
one of five North American film tests 
in which presentation will qualify a film 
w/out distribution for submission to 
the Independent Spirit awards. Founded: 
1974. Cats: feature, doc, short. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, Beta, Beta SP, DigiBeta. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $25 (20 min. or 
less); $35 (21 min. to 49 min.); $50 (50 min. 
or more). Contact: Cinema Seattle, 91 1 Pine 
St., Ste. 607, Seattle, WA 98 1 1 ; (206) 264- 
7919; fax: 264-7919; info@seattlefilm.com; 
www.seattlefilm.com. 

SUPER SUPER 8 FILM TOURS, touring 
fest, CA. Deadline: Feb. 28. Fest takes your 
film on a world tour, w/ live musical accom- 
paniment for silent films. Cats: experimental, 
feature, doc, animation, travelogue, garage 
sale find, short. Awards: Honorarium & 
prizes awarded. Formats: 16mm, Super 8. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $20. 
Contact: Polyester Prince Road Show, 
1200 N. Alvarado St., Los Angeles, CA 
90026; (213) 484-8846; polyesterprince® 
hotmail.com; www.polyesterprince.com. 

TAOS TALKING PICTURES FESTIVAL 

April 10-13, NM. Deadline: Jan. 10. 
Highlights include: Tributes Latino & Native 
American programs, as well as comprehen- 
sive Media Literacy Forum w/ panel discus- 
sions, workshops & demonstrations focusing 
on the state of media. Cats: feature, doc, 
short, experimental, animation, music video, 
any style or genre, student. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, 3/4", 1/2", Beta SP, S-VHS. Preview 
on VHS. Entry Fee: $25-$50 (no fee for int'l 
entries). Contact: Kelly Clement, 1337 
Gusdorf Rd. Ste. B, Taos, NM 87571; (505) 
751-0637; fax: 751-7385; ttpix@ttpix.org; 
www.ttpix.org. 

UNA FILM FESTIVAL, April 24-25, AL 
Deadline: Jan. 31. Cats: feature, short, 



short doc, music video, student. Awards: 
Cash prizes awarded in each category. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $20; $10 
(Student); $5 (Lion Club). For info, contact: 
George Lindsey, UNA TV & Film Festival, 
UNA Box 5151, Florence, AL 35632; 
(256) 765-4592; lindseyfilmfest@una.edu; 
www2.una,edu/univ.relations/filmfest/ 
festindex.htm. 

UNITED STATES SUPER 8MM FILM & 
DIGITAL VI DEO FESTIVAL, February 21- 
23, NJ. Deadline: Jan. 24. Annual fest 
encourages any genre, but work must have 
predominantly originated on Super 8 film or 
Hi 8 or digital video. Formats: Hi 8, super 8, 
16mm, 8mm, 1/2", 3/4", DV. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: $35 (check or money order 
payable to Rutgers Film Co-Op/NJMAC. 
Do not send cash). Contact: Al Nigrin, 
Rutgers Film Co-Op/New Jersey Media 
Arts Center, 72 Lipman Dr., Loree Bldg- 
Douglass Campus, Rutgers University, 
New Brunswick, NJ 08901; (732) 932- 
8482; fax: 932-1935; njmac@aol.com; 
www.njfilmfest.com. 

US INT'L FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, 

June 5-6, IL Deadline: March 1. Founded in 
1968; open to business, TV, doc, industrial, 
info productions. Founded: 1968. Cats: 
Children, Doc, Short, Feature, Any style 
or genre; Formats: 1/2", U-matic, DVD, 
CD-ROM. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$145-$285. Contact: Lee W. Gluckman, 
Jr., 713 S. Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 
A, Redondo Beach, CA 90277-4233 
(310) 540-0959; fax: (310) 316-8905 
fi I mfesti nfo@filmfestawards.com 
www.filmfestawards.com. 

WASHINGTON DC INT'L FILM FESTIVAL 

Apr. 23-May 4, DC. Deadline: Jan. 15. Cats: 
feature, doc, animation, children, short. 
Awards: Fest is noncompetitive except for 
an Audience Award, given to the most 
popular film. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $15 (under 
30 min.), $25 (30 min. & up). Contact: 
Tony Gittens, Box 21396, Washington, 
DC 20009; (202) 724-561 3; fax: 724-6578; 
filmfestdc@filmfestdc.org; www.filmfestdc.org. 

XICANINDIE FILM FESTIVAL, April 3-6, 
CO. Deadline: Feb. 15 (postmark). Cats: ani- 
mation, doc, experimental, narrative (feature 
or short) . Awards: prizes awarded. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, video, Beta SP, DV. Preview 
on VHS. Entry Fee: $5, incl. S.A.S.E. 
for tape return. Contact: Daniel Salazar, 




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ALGARVEINT'L FILM FESTIVAL, May 4- 

18, Portugal. Deadline: Feb. 15. Cats: doc, 
animation, fiction, short. Awards: prizes total- 
ing $20,000. Formats: 35mm only. Preview 
on VHS. Entry fee: none. Contact: Carlos 
Manuel, Box 8091, Lisbon Codex, Portugal 
1800; 01 1 351 21 851 36 15; fax: 351 21 
852 1 1 50; algarvefilmfest@mail.telepac.pt; 
www.algarvefilmfest.com. 

BANFF TELEVISION FESTIVAL, June 8- 
13, Canada. Deadline: Feb. 14. Festival 
blends two components: a conference 
for industry pros w/ important resource 
people, an informal environment in which to 
develop business relationships & an int'l 
program competition which awards the 
coveted Banff Rockie awards in 1 4 cats. 
Formats: Beta, Beta SP, VHS (PAL). Entry 
Fee: $250 (payable in U.S. or Canadian dol- 
lars); $ 1 00 (original content created for web- 
casting, w/ no prior or simultaneous appear- 
ance in another medium). Contact: Festival, 
Banff Television Foundation, 1 350 Railway 
Ave, Canmore, Alberta, CANADA T1W 
3E3; (403) 678-9260; fax: 678-9269; 
info@banfftvfest.com; www.banff2003.com. 

BRUSSELS EUROPEAN FILM FESTIVAL, 

April 23-May 3, Belgium. Deadline: Jan. 20. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Preview on VHS. 
Contact: Paul Sterck, Chausse de Louvain 
30, 1210 Brussels, Belgium; 011 32 2 
227 39 80; fax: 011 32 2 218 18 60; 
infoffb@netcity.be; www.brusselsfest.be. 

INSIDE OUT: TORONTO LESBIAN AND 
GAY FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, May 1 5-25, 
Canada. Deadline: Jan. 13. Fest hosts the 
largest lesbian & gay fest in Canada & 
one of the largest in the world. Founded: 
1991. Cats: feature, doc, short, animation, 
experimental, music video, student, youth 
media, family, children, TV. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, Beta, Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: None. Contact: Kathleen Mullen, 
401 Richmond St. West, Ste. 219, Toronto, 
Ontario, Canada M5V 3A8; (416) 977-6847; 
fax: 977-8025; programmer@insideout.on.ca; 
www.insideout.on.ca. 

INT'L FILM FESTIVAL OF URUGUAY, Apr. 
12-27, Uruguay. Deadline: Feb. 15. Annual 
fest devoted to short & feature-length, doc, 



64 The Independent | January/February 2003 



fiction, experimental, Latin American & int'l 
films, w/ purpose of promoting film quality & 
human & conceptual values.. Ind. test aims at 
being frame for meetings & discussions of 
regional projects & of mutual interest. Fest 
has 4 sections: Int'l Full Length Film Show; 
Int'l Doc & Experimental Film Show; Info 
Show; Espacio Uruguay. Films should be 
subtitled, have Spanish version, or have a list 
of texts or dialogues translated into Spanish 
or in English, French or Portuguese for us to 
translate. Films wishing to compete must be 
completed after Jan. 1 of prior year. Founded: 
1 982. Cats: feature, doc, short, experimental, 
animation, student. Awards: Best Film; Jury 
Prize; Opera Prima Prize. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, S-VHS, U-matic. Preview 
on VHS. Entry Fee: None. Contact: 
Manuel Martinez Carril, Lorenzo Carnelli 
1311, Montevideo, Uruguay 11200; 
011 5982 418 2460; 409 5795; fax: 
5982 419 4572; cinemuy@chasque.net; 
www.cinemateca.org.uy 

INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTI- 
VAL; HAMBURG, June 4-9, Germany. 
Deadline: Feb. 1 5 (shorts & no-budget); April 
1 (3 minute "Quickie"). Annual festival is a 
forum for presenting diversity of int'l short 
films & providing a meeting place for film- 
makers from home & abroad. Consecutively 
run w/ the Hamburg Children's Film Festival. 
Shorts must be under 20 min., except for 
Three-Minute Quickie entries (must be under 
3 min.). Founded: 1985. Cats: short, children, 
any style or genre. Awards: Hamburg Short 
Film Award, No Budget Award, Audience 
Awards. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Super 8, 
U-matic, S-VHS, BetaSP, DVD, 1/2". Preview 
on VHS. If previews are not in German or 
English, enclose text list No Entry Fee. 
Contact: Festival, KurzFilmAgentur Hamburg 
e.V; Friedensallee 7, Hamburg, Germany D 
22765 ; 00 49 40 39 10 63 23; fax: 00 49 
40 39 10 63 20; fest@shortfilm.com; 
www.shortfilm.com. 

IT'S ALL TRUE INT'L DOC FILM 
FESTIVAL, April 3-13, Brazil. Deadline: Jan. 
15. A leading forum for nonaction produc- 
tions in Latin America. Fest aims to promote 
the doc film & video form & to increase the 
int'l debate & cooperation on the genre. 
Founded: 1996. Cats: doc. Formats: 35 mm, 
16mm, Beta. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
None. Contact: Amir Labaki, Rua Simao 
Andrade, 55, Sao Paolo - SP, Brasil 
05030-030; 011 55 11 3873-7296; 
fax: 55 1 1 3873-7296; info@itsalltrue.com; 
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MONTREAL JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL, May 

8-15, Canada. Deadline: February 1 5. Annual 
fest showcases Jewish films from around the 
world. Founded: 1995. Cats: feature, doc, 
short, animation, experimental, children. 
Formats: 1/2", 35mm, 16mm, Beta SP, VHS 
(Beta SP). Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: none. 
Contact: Susan Alper, Dir, 352 Emery St. 
3rd FL, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2X 
1J1; (514) 987-9795; fax: 987-9736; 
fest@mjff.qc.ca; www.mjff.qc.ca. 

OBERHAUSEN INT'L SHORT FILM FES- 
TIVAL, May 1-6, Germany. Deadline: Jan. 15. 
The world's oldest short film fest offers a 
forum for aesthetic & technological innova- 
tion & reflection. Founded: 1954. Cats: Short, 
Any style or genre, Children, Music Video. 
Awards: incl. Grand Prize, Jury of Int'l Film 
Critics award. Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm, Beta 
SP/PAL, U-matic (PAL, SECAM, NTSC), 
Super 8, DV, S-VHS, Beta SP. Preview 
on VHS. Entry Fee: No entry fee. 
Contact: Melanie Piguel, Grillostr. 34, 
Oberhausen, Germany 46045; 01 1 49 208 
825 3073; fax: 49 208 825 5413; 
info@kurzfilmtage.de; www.kurzfilmtage.de. 

SINGAPORE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, April 
18-May 3, Singapore. Deadline: Jan. 31. 
FIAPF-recognized invitational fest offers 
non-competitive & competitive section for 
Asian cinema, w/ award for best Asian fea- 
ture. Open to features completed after Jan. 1 
of preceding yr. Entries must be Singapore 
premieres. Cats: Short, Feature, Doc, 
Animation. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 
1/2", Beta SP. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
No entry fee. Contact: Philip Cheah, 
45A Keong Saik Rd., Singapore, 
Singapore 089149; 01 1 65 738 7567; fax: 
011 65 738 7578; filmfest@pacific.net.sg; 
www.filmfest.org.sg. 

YORKTOWN SHORT FILM & VIDEO FES- 
TIVAL, May 22-25, Canada. Deadline: Feb. 
15. Longest-running fest of its kind in 
Canada. Awards avail, in 1 8 genre cats, 9 
craft cats. Festival incls. public screenings, 
mini cinema, workshops & activities. 
Cats: Doc, Children, Short. Awards: 
The Golden Sheaf Award. Formats: 
1/2", 16mm, Beta SP, Beta. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: CAN $75. Contact: 
Festival, 49 Smith St. E, Yorktown, SK, 
Canada S3N 0H4; (306) 782-7077; 
fax: 782-1550; info@yorktonshortfilm.org; 
www.yorktonshortfilm.org. 



66 The Independent | January/February 2003 



Films/Tapes 
Wanted 

By Charlie Sweitzer 

Screening opportunities are listed 
free of charge as space permits. 
Distribution ads are sold as class- 
fieds (see p. 72). The Independent 
reserves the right to edit for length 
and makes no guarantees about rep- 
etitions of a given notice. Limit sub- 
missions to 60 words and indicate 
how long your information will be 
current. Send to: notices@aivf.org. 

DISTRIBUTION 

CALLING ALL INDEPENDENT film- 
makers. Submit your film to hundreds of 
distributors tor acquisition. Promote your film 
to 30,000 in the independent film community. 
Starting at $99. More information at 
www.tapelist.com. 

EDUCATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR SEEKS 

videos on guidance issues such as violence, 
drug prevention, mentoring, children's health 
& parenting for exclusive distribution. Our 
marketing gives unequaled results! Call Sally 
Germain at The Bureau for At-Risk Youth: 
(800) 99-YOUTH x. 210. 

FANLIGHT PRODUCTIONS 20+ years as 
an industry leader! Join more than 100 
award-winning film & video producers. Send 
us your new works on healthcare, mental 
health, aging, disabilities, and related issues. 
(800) 937-41 13; www.fanlight.com. 

NEW DAY FILMS seeks energetic inde- 
pendent film and videomakers with social 
issue docs for distribution to non-theatrical 
markets. If you want to maximize your profits 
while working within a remarkable commu- 
nity of committed activist filmmakers, then 
New Day is the perfect home for your film. 
New Day is committed to promoting diver- 
sity within our membership and within 
the media we represent. Explore our films 
at www.newday.com, then Contact Heidi 
Schmidt at (650) 347-51 23. 

THE CINEMA GUILD, leading film/ 
video/multimedia distributor, seeks new doc, 
fiction, educational & animation programs for 
distribution. Send video cassettes or 
discs for evaluation to: The Cinema Guild, 
130 Madison Ave., 2nd fj, NewYork, NY 



10016; (212) 685-6242; gcrowdus@cin- 
emaguild.com; Ask for our Distribution 
Services brochure. 

MICROCINEMAS • 
SCREENING SERIES 

AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE accepts 
entries for its ongoing program, the 
Alternative Screen: a Forum for Independent 
Film Exhibition & Beyond. Looking primarily 
for feature films without wide distribution, but 
also will consider shorts, animation, new 
media, etc. for other programs & showcases. 
Send 1/2" VHS viewing tape, press kit (any 
written background materials), cover letter 
with contact info & S.A.S.E. to: Margot 
Gerber, The Alternative Screen, 1800 N. 
Highland, Ste. 717, LA, CA 90028. Tel. (323) 



DIGITAL CAFE SERIES seeks videos 
(shorts & features) ranging from social-issue 
docs to experimental for ongoing biweekly 
screenings. Youth-produced videos (20 min. 
or fewer) may also be entered into the Young 
Videomakers Program at the Hamptons Int'l 
Film Festival. VHS only. Send S.A.S.E. if you'd 
like your video returned. For more info, 
contact Emily or Maggie at (845) 485- 
4480; emily@childrensmediaproject.org; 
www.childrensmediaproject.org. 

ELECTRIC EYE CINEMA of Madison, Wl, is 
a monthly venue for independent documen- 
tary video features. All net profits from 
screenings redistributed back to participating 
filmmakers. Looking for 30- to 90-minute 
works that are creative, witty, or politically 
conscious. Also looking for shorts 10 min. or 




Tiny Picture Club 

Tiny Picture Club, a Portland, Oregon, collective of 
Super 8 filmmakers, employs a refreshing and enthusi- 
astic D.I.Y aesthetic: They share equipment, develop 
their own film (with their own chemicals— check out the 
"Recipes" section of www.tinypictureclub.com), and even 
compose and perform live musical accompaniments for 
their quarterly screening series. See listing. 



466-3456 x115; fax (323) 461-9737; 
www.americancinematheque.com. 

CINEMARENO is a nonprofit film society 
that features monthly screenings showcasing 
independent films & videos. Focusing on new, 
undistributed works. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, 
Beta-SP, DV Preview on VHS. Entry Fee is 
$20. Entry form & guidelines available at 
www.cinemareno.org. Contact: Cinema- 
reno, P.O. Box 5372, Reno, NV 89513; 
cinemareno@excite.com. 

DEAF & HARD OF HEARING FILM PRO- 
GRAM, hosted by Film Society of Lincoln 
Center, seeks original films or videos, from 
1-20 min., to include w/ monthly screenings 
of open-captioned featured films at Walter 
Reade Theater. Films w/ artistic involvement 
from deaf artists preferred, but not required. 
Seeking original work that can be under- 
stood by deaf audience. Dialogue must be 
subtitled. Send 1/2" video copy (non-return- 
able) to: The Film Society of Lincoln Center, 
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Film Program, 165 
W. 65th St., 4th fl., NY, NY 10023; (212) 
875-5638; sbensman@filmlinc.com. 



fewer, any genre, to be screened at our 
(unpaid) Open Reel Hour at the beginning of 
each monthly program. Send VHS copy, sum- 
mary, & short bio to: Prolefeed Studios, 
Brian Standing, 32 1 James St., Madison, Wl 
5371 4; www.prolefeedstudios.com. 

FLICKER encompasses a Super 8 and 
16mm film showcase held in cities across 
the country. Film grants of $100 to filmmak- 
ers are also offered through some groups. 
Send a short proposal to the Flicker nearest 
you; see the website for a list of local 
Flickers: www.flickeraustin.com. 

FREEDOM FILM SOCIETY, presenter of 
the Red Bank International Film Festival, 
seeks short (45 min. or fewer) and feature 
narrative, documentary, experimental, & ani- 
mated works for monthly New Jersey 
screenings. Send preview on VHS (NTSC). 
Entry Fee: shorts, $25; features, $45, 
Ph/Fax: (732) 741-8089; contact@rbff.org; 
www.rbff.org/entry_form/submit.html. 

INDIE CINEMA NIGHT, presented by the 
Atlanta Urban Mediamakers Association, Inc., 
seeks short & feature-length narrative, docu- 






January/February 2003 | The Independent 67 



films/tapes wanted 




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mentary, & child-aimed works of all genres 
for a monthly screening series. Preview on 
VHS, Beta SP, or DVD. Reviews of selected 
works will appear in Urban Mediamakers 
magazine; audience evaluations solicited 
after every screening. No entry fee. Tel. (404) 
287-7758; aumai@urbanmediamakers.com; 
www.urbanmediamakers.com. 

MAKOR continues its Reel Jews Film Festival 
& ongoing screening series showcasing the 
work of emerging Jewish filmmakers. We are 
now accepting shorts, features, docs and/or 
works-in-progress, regardless of theme, for 
screening consideration. Program sponsored 
by Steven Spielberg's Righteous Persons 
Foundation. Contact Ken Sherman: (212) 
413-8821; ksherman@92ndsty.org. 

MICROCINEMA'S INDEPENDENT EXPO- 
SURE seeks short video, film & digital media 
submissions of 15 min. or fewer on an ongo- 
ing basis for the monthly Microcinema screen- 
ing program. Artists qualify for a nonexclusive 
distribution deal, incl. additional license fees 
for int'l offline & online sales. Looking for short 
narrative, alternative, humorous, dramatic, erot- 
ic, animation, etc. Works selected may contin- 
ue on to nat'l and int'l venues for additional 
screenings. Submit VHS or S-VHS (NTSC 
preferred) labeled w/ name, title, length, 
phone #, & any support materials, incl. photos. 
Submissions will not be returned. Contact: 
Joel S. Banchar, Microcinema International, 
531 Utah St., San Francisco, CA 941 10. 

OTHER CINEMA, San Francisco's twenty- 
year-old microcinema, accepts submissions 
of experimental film and video, as well as per- 
sonal non-fiction, of any length for their 
weekly screening series. Please send a VHS 
tape (non-returnable) to: Other Cinema, 992 
Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110; 
www.othercinema.com, 

SHOW & TELL is a monthly film, video, & 
music event. Highlighting everything from 
film, video, music & poetry, this event provides 
a much-needed venue to show work & talent 
in a nonconventional location. Seeking 1 5- to 
20-minute film/videos. Show & Tell, co Black 
Robb, 535 Havemeyer Ave #1 2H, New York, 
NY 10473. Tel. (718) 409-1691; black- 
robb@netzero.net. 

TINY PICTURE CLUB seeks Super 8 films 
for quarterly, theme-based programs. Films 
will screen on Super 8 & be accompanied by 
live music. Tiny Picture Club is especially 
interested in work from the Portland area. 



Send VHS preview tape to: Tiny Picture Club, 
6202 SE 17th Ave., Portland, OR 97202; 
www.tinypictureclub.com. 

THINK TANK FILM SCREENING is a film, 
video, motion graphics, & animation event 
showcasing the very best in creative socio- 
cultural commentary. Past events have treat- 
ed issues as diverse as immigration, architec- 
ture, & warfare. Submissions are chosen for 
their uniqueness in message & vision. Event 
scheduled for Feb. 28th. Submission require- 
ments: VHS preview tape, NTSC, fewer than 
1 1 min. Deadline: January 1 5, 2003. No fee. 
Submissions cannot be returned. Send to: 
Think Tank Film Screening, 1 62 Carlton Ave 
#1 , Brooklyn, NY 1 1 205. Check for updates 
at www.terraswarm.com/thinktank. 

GALLERIES • EXHIBITIONS 

ART IN GENERAL encourages general sub- 
missions for exhibition & residency. Works 
can encompass all media, including site-spe- 
cific installation, single channel video, audio 
projects, & window installations. Video work 
must be on VHS NTSC. Send application 
(available at www.artingeneral.org) along with 
S.A.S.E. & materials to: Future Programs, Art 
in General, 79 Walker Street, New York, NY 
10013. Phone:(212)219-0473. 

SPARK CONTEMPORARY ART SPACE is 

a collectively run gallery in Syracuse, NY. 
Currently accepting submissions of short 
(fewer than 1 5 min.) art videos for the next 
programming year (Sept. 2002 to April 
2003). All types of independent noncom- 
mercial work is accepted. International & 
domestic submissions are encouraged. All 
programs will be posted on the web & all 
participating artists will be contacted. 
Accepted formats: VHS & DV Processing 
fee: $5, payable to Jeremy Drummond. 
Include synopsis, bio, CV & contact informa- 
tion. S.A.S.E. required for tape return. Send 
to: Video Programmer, Spark Contemporary 
Art Space, 535 Westcott St., Apt. #2, 
Syracuse, NY 13210; Tel. (315) 422-2654; 
info@jeremydrummond.org. 

UNIVERSITY ART GALLERY at Central 
Michigan University reviews proposals year- 
round. All media considered, incl. 2-D, 3-D, 
performance, video & computer art. Artists 
interested in exhibition at the University Art 
Gallery should send 20 slides, video or disc, 
resume, artist statement & SASE to: Central 
Michigan University Art Gallery, Art Dept. 
Wightman 132, Mt. Pleasant, Ml 48859. 



68 The Independent | January/February 2003 



SHOWCASES 

CHICAGO COMMUNITY CINEMA com- 
bines the excitement of an annual film festi- 
val with a monthly extravaganza of a net- 
working fest & movie showcase. On the first 
Tuesday of each month, short films, trailers, 
music videos, commercials, student films, & 
features of all genres are showcased to an 
audience of industry professionals. Evenings 
begin with a cocktail reception to showcase 
local organizations & provide a strong social 
networking atmosphere before the screen- 
ings. Submission form available at website. 
Entry Fee is $25. Contact: Chicago 
Community Cinema, 1000 N. Milwaukee 
Ave., Chicago, IL 60622; (773) 289- 
4261 ; www.ChicagoCommunityCinema.com. 
Deadline: ongoing. 

POTHOLE PICTURES, a revitalized 450- 
seat movie house in Shelburne Falls, MA, 
seeks 35mm films for "Meet the Director" 
series, which features discussion & reception 
after the screening. Any length or genre. 



Connection to New England through subject 
matter, locations, or hometown of filmmakers 
helpful but not required. Send VHS preview 
tape to: Fred DeVecca, Pothole Pictures, 
Box 368, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370; 
frogprod@javanet.com. 

SHORT FILM GROUP seeks shorts 
throughout the year for its quarterly series of 
screenings in Los Angeles. The group is a 
nonprofit organization created to promote 
short film as a means to itself. More info & 
application form at www.shortfilmgroup.org. 

BROADCASTS • CABLECASTS 

PUBLIC BROADCASTING SERVICE 

accepts proposals for programs & completed 
programs by independent producers. Consult 
PBS web page for content priorities & sub- 
mission guidelines. Contact Cheryl Jones, 
Program Development & Independent Film, 
PBS Headquarters, 1320 Braddock Place, 
Alexandria, VA 22314; Ph. (703) 739- 
5150; fax 739-5295; cjones@pbs.org; 
www.pbs.org/producers. 



SHORT LIST is an int'l showcase of short 
films that airs nat'lly on PBS. Licenses 
all genres, 30 sec. to 25 mins. Produced 
in association with Kodak Worldwide 
Independent Emerging Filmmakers Program 
& Cox Channel 4. Awards 5 Kodak product 
grants annually. Submit on VHS. Application, 
form available at www.theshortlist.cc; fax 
(619) 462-8266; ShortList@mail.sdsu.edu. 

SUB ROSA STUDIOS seeks video & film 
productions for ongoing Syracuse-area TV 
programming & VHS/DVD/TV worldwide 
release. Seek short & feature nonfiction pro- 
ductions in all areas of the special-interest or 
instructional fields, cutting-edge documen- 
taries, & children & family programming. Also 
seeks feature-length fiction, all genres, esp. 
horror & sci-fi. Supernatural-themed prod- 
ucts wanted, both fiction & nonfiction, esp. 
supernatural/horror fiction shot documentary 
style. Contact: Ron Bonk, Sub Rosa Stu- 
dios; Ph: (315) 454-5608; webmaster© 
b-movie.com; www.b-movie.com. 




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January/February 2003 | The Independent 69 



Notices 

By Charlie Sweitzer 

Noncommercial notices of rele- 
vance to AIVF members are listed 
free of charge as space permits. 
Commercial clients pay classified 
rates. The Independent reserves the 
right to edit for length and makes no 
guarantees about repetitions of a 
given notice. Limit submissions to 60 
words and indicate how long your 
information will be current. Deadline: 
First of the month, two months prior 
to cover date (e.g., March 1st for May 
issue). Complete contact info (name, 
address, & phone) required. Send to: 
notices@aivf.org. We try to be as cur- 
rent & accurate as possible, but never- 
theless: double-check details before 
submitting material. 



COMPETITIONS 

HARRY CHAPIN MEDIA AWARDS, spon- 
sored by World Hunger Year, go to work that 
provides outstanding coverage that positively 
impacts hunger, poverty & self-reliance. 
Categories: books, newspaper/periodicals, 
broadcast & photojournalism. Work must 
have appeared between Jan. 1 & Dec. 31, 
2002. Cash prizes up to $2,500 in each cat- 
egory. Entries must be postmarked no later 
than Jan. 17, 2003. For more info & applica- 
tion form, visit www.worldhungeryear.org. 

CONFERENCES • WORKSHOPS 

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE 

HUMANITIES o'fers summer seminars & 
institutes for college & univ. teachers. 
Seminars incl. 15 participants working 
in collaboration w/ 1 or 2 leading scholars. 
Institutes provide intensive collaborative 
study of texts, historical periods & ideas for 
teachers of undergrad humanities. Info & 
appl. materials are avail, from project direc- 
tors. Deadline: March 1. Contact: (202) 606- 
8463; sem-nst@neh.gov; www.neh.cov. 

TAOS WOMEN FILMMAKERS RETREAT 
2003 seeks entries for 10-day retreat (Aug. 
24-Sep. 3) at Georgia O'Keefe's Ghost Ranch, 
NM that will focus on digging deeply into the 
stories women filmmakers "really" want to tell. 
Only 20 applicants will be selected, so apply 
early. Deadline: Mar. 15. Submit your script, 
synopsis, outline, & completed entry form 



(available at www.tanomediainstitute.com) w/ 
a non-refundable application check of $50.00 
payable to S.E.E./Tano Media Institute & mail 
to: Tano Women Filmmakers Retreat/ 
Submissions, 1 1 15 N. Flores St., Suite #10, 
West Hollywood, CA 90069. 

TWN FILM & PRODUCTION WORKSHOP 

emphasizes training & support of people of 
color who have limited resources & access to 
mainstream educational institutions & tradi- 
tional training programs. Intensive 6-month, 
8-participant program focuses on preproduc- 
tion, production & postproduction skills nec- 
essary to take a project from conception to 
completion. Prior film, video, or related expe- 
rience recommended but not required; self- 
initiative, time, & collaborative spirit is. Initial 
written application required & second round 
of applicants selected for interviews. Cost: 
$500. Deadline: Jan. 24th. Workshop begins 
early April 2003. For application visit 
www.twn.org or send a S.A.S.E. to: Third 
World Newsreel, Production Workshop, 545 
8th Ave., 10th fl., New York, NY 10018. For 
more info call (212) 947-9277 x301. 

RESOURCES • FUNDS 

AGAPE FOUNDATIONS DAVID R. STERN 
MEMORIAL FUND offers loans to film proj- 
ects commited to nonviolent social change. 
$3,000 will be loaned for up to three months 
to filmmakers who promotes the use of non- 
violence in their work. Applications are due 
by the last business day of each month. 
(415) 701-8707; agapefn@sirius.com. 

ARTHUR VINING DAVIS FOUNDATION 

provides completion funding for educational 
series assured of airing nat'lly on PBS. 
Childrens series are of particular interest. 
Consideration will also be given to innovative 
uses of public TV, including computer online 
efforts, to enhance educational outreach in 
schools & communities. Funding for research 
and preproduction is rarely supported. 
Recent production grants have ranged from 
$100,000 to $500,000. Proposal guidelines 
available on website. Contact Dr. Jonathan T. 
Howe, Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, 1 1 1 
Riverside Ave., Ste. 130, Jacksonville, FL 
32202-4921 ; arthurvining@bellsouth.net; 
www.jvm.com/davis. 

CHICAGO UNDERGROUND FILM FUND 

is proud to announce its 5th year awarding 
$500-$2,000 postproduction completion 
grants for any length & genre on Super 8, 
16mm or 35mm, Emphasis placed on works 



that fit CUFF's mission to promote films & 
videos that innovate in form or content. 
Deadline: Feb. 5. Contact: CUFF c/o Bryan 
Wendorf 2545 West Altgeld #1 Chicago, IL 
60647; info@cuff.org; www.cuff.org. 

CINEMAX REEL LIFE & HBO AMERICA 
UNDER-COVER offer completion & produc- 
tion funds, respectively, for American inde- 
pendent documentaries. No entry form for 
either series. Contact: Greg Rhem at 
Cinemax or Nancy Abraham at HBO, (212) 
5 12- 1673; fax 5 12-8051. 

JOHN D. & CATHERINE T. MACARTHUR 
FOUNDATION provides partial support to 
selected doc series & films intended for nat'l 
or int'l broadcast & focusing on an issue in 
one of the foundation's two major programs 
(human & community development; global 
security & sustainability). Send preliminary 
two to three page letter. Contact John D. & 
Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 140 S. 
Dearborn St., Ste. 1 100, Chicago, IL 60603; 
(312) 726-8000; 4answers@macfdn.org; 
www.macfdn.org. 

KQED-TV IN SAN FRANCISCO provides 
in-kind postproduction assistance to a num- 
ber of independent projects each year. 
Subject must be compelling & of interest to 
KQED's viewers, or attract new audiences. 
Material must pass technical evaluation for 
broadcast quality. Producer must supply 
rough cut for review. KQED also takes on a 
number of co-productions each year. For 
more info, call (415) 553-2269. 

LOCAL INDEPENDENTS COLLABORAT- 
ING WITH STATIONS (LlnCS) FUND is a 

funding initiative from Independent Television 
Service (ITVS) which provides matching 
funds ($10,000-$75,000) for collaborations 
between public TV stations & indie produc- 
ers. Single shows & interstitial pkgs will be 
considered, as will projects in any genre or 
stage of development. Programs should stim- 
ulate civic discourse & break traditional 
molds of exploring complex regional, cultural, 
political, social, or economic issues. Indie film 
& videomakers encouraged to seek collabo- 
rations w/ their local public TV stations. 
Deadline: April 30, 2003. Guidelines & appli- 
cations available at www.itvs.org, or contact 
Elizabeth Meyer, tel: (415) 365-8383 x270; 
elizabeth_meyer@itvs,org, 

NATHAN CUMMINGS FOUNDATION is 

rooted in the Jewish tradition & committed to 
democratic values and&social justice, includ- 



70 The Independent | January/February 2003 



ing fairness, diversity, & community. 
Supporting artistic projects, including exhibi- 
tions & education outreach, that provide a 
deeper understanding of issues pertaining to 
health, the environment, & Jewish life. Grants 
range from $10,000 to $80,000. For more 
info, visit www.ncf.org. 

OPEN CALL FOR PRODUCTION/OPEN 
DOOR COMPLETION FUNDS are avail- 
able from National Asian American 
Telecommunications Association (NAATA) 
for applicants with public TV projects in pro- 
duction & post-production phases. Awards 
average from $20,000 - $50,000 per proj- 
ect. OPEN CALL deadlines: Feb. 28. & Aug. 
29 2003. Review process for the OPEN 
CALL takes approximately 3-6 months. For 
OPEN DOOR a full-length rough cut must be 
submitted. Applications reviewed on a rolling 
basis. Contact: NAATA Media Fund, 145 
Ninth St., Suite 350, San Francisco, CA 
94103; (415) 863-0814 x122; fax: 
(415) 863-7428; mediafund@naatanet.org; 
www.naatanet.org. 

PANAVISION'S NEW FILMMAKER PRO- 
GRAM donates 16mm camera packages to 
film projects, including graduate student the- 
sis films, of any genre. Highly competitive. 
Submit proposals 5 to 6 months before you 
intend to shoot Filmmakers must secure 
equipment & liability insurance. Send S.A.S.E. 
to: New Filmmaker Program, Panavision, 
6219 DeSoto Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 
91367-2602. 

PAUL ROBESON FUND FOR INDEPEN- 
DENT MEDIA solicits projects addressing 
critical social & political issues w/ goal of cre- 
ating social change. Funding for radio projects 
in all stages of production; film & video proj- 
ects in preproduction or distribution stages 
only. Grants range from $3,000-$8,000. 
Deadline: May 1 5. Contact: Trinh Duong, The 
Funding Exchange, 666 Broadway, #500, NY, 
NY 10012; (212) 529-5300. 

PLAYBOY FOUNDATION MEDIA GRANTS 

seek social change documentary film & video 
projects. Grants range from $1,000 
to $5,000 & are limited to projects in 
postproduction. For more information visit: 
www.playboyenterprises.com. 



Find just what you need to 

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online at www.aivf.org/listings 



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Classifieds 

Deadline: First of each month, two 
months prior to cover date (e.g., March 
1st for May issue). Contact: (212) 807- 
1400: fax (212)463-8519; classi- 
fieds@aivf.org. 

PER ISSUE COST: 0-240 characters 
(incl. spaces & punctuation): $45 for 
nonmembers/$30 for AIVF members; 
241-360 chars: $65/$45; 361-480 
chars: $80/$60; 481-600 chars: 
$95/$75; OVER 600 characters: Call for 
quote, (21 2) 807-1 400, x241 . 

FREQUENCY DISCOUNT: $5 off per 
issue for ads running 5+ times. 

Ads OVER specified length will be edit- 
ed. Place ad via www.aivf.org/ 
independent/classifieds or type copy 
and mail with the check or money order 
to: FIVF, 304 Hudson St, 6th Fl., New 
York, NY 1 001 3. Include billing address, 
daytime phone, # of issues, and valid 
member ID# for member discount To 
pay by VISA/MC/AMEX include card #, 
name on card & exp. date. 



INTERACTIVE 

CLASSIFIEDS ARE AVAILABLE 

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BUY • RENT • SELL 

AATON XTR 16/SUP16 camera package 
for rent Canon zooms, Zeiss primes & full 
support. Abel Maintained. Great rates. (718) 
398-6688 or email: jryrisius@aol.com. 

AUDIO MIXING FOR FILM/DV: mag tracks 
or OMFs, $80 per hour. Beautiful Final Cut 
room with DVD & DVCAM, $20 per hour. 
Dialog cleaning. ADR, Foley, sweetening, and 
design. Paul@stellarsoundfx.com. Chrystie 
St, NYC. (212)529-7193. 

AVID MEDIA COMPOSER 1000, 7.1 w/2D 
effects. $9,500 all inclusive or $5,000 w/o 
Sony UVW 1800. Apple Power Mac w/256 
MB RAM, 2-20" Mitsubishi RGB monitors, 
18 GB fixed and wide media drives (AVR 77), 
36 GB fixed Avid media drives (offline and 
audio), Sony PVM 14N6U 14" color video 
monitor, sony 30 watt receiver w/2 Boston 
acoustic speakers, Mackie MS 1202VLZ 12 
input mixer, 100 MB Iomega zip drive, Black 
Burst generator, Sony UVW 1800 Beta 
player/recorder ($5,000 if purchased 



separately). Flatiron Productions, Mr. Mack 
(212) 685-3099, cutman48@aol.com. 

DIGIBETA DECK RENTAL ONLY $400/day: 
I deliver! Also Beta SP decks by day/week/ 
month. Uncompressed Avid Suite, AVR 
77 Suite, Digi Pro-Tools w/ Voiceover Booth. DV 
Cam decks and cameras, mics, lights, etc. 
Production Central (212) 631-0435. 

KEEP IT DIGITAL! Digibeta deck for rent 
(Sony A-500) $400/dayr $ 1 200/week. Also 
dubs to/from Digibeta to Beta-SP, VHS, 
DVCam, mini-DV, etc. Uncompressed Avid suite, 
too. Production Central (212) 631-0435. 

WELL MAINTAINED AFFORDABLE 

screening room on LA's west side. Perfect for 
rough cuts, test screenings, film-outs & 
dailies. Film & video production starting at 
$55/hr. New Deal Studios screening room: 
(310) 578-9929. www.newdealstudios.com. 

FREELANCE 

35MM & 16MM PROD. PKG. w/DP. 

Complete package w/ DP's own Arri 35BL, 
16SR, HMI's, dolly, jib crane, lighting, 
DAT, grip & 5-ton truck . . . more. Call 
for reel: Tom Agnello (201) 741-4367; 
roadtoindy@aol.com. 

ACCOUNTANT/BOOKKEEPER/ 
CONTROLLER: Experience in both corpo- 
rate & nonprofit sectors. Hold MBA in 
Marketing & Accounting. Freelance work 
sought. Sam Sagenkahn (917) 374-2464. 

ANDREW DUNN, Director of Photo- 
graphy/camera operator Arri35 BL3, Aaton 
XTRprod S16, Sony DVCAM. Experience 
in features, docs, TV & industrials, 
Credits: "Dog Run," "Strays," "Working 
Space/Working Light." (212) 477-0172; 
AndrewDI 58@aol.com. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ many 
feature & short film credits. Owns 35 Arri 
BL3, Super 16/16 Aaton, HMIs, Dolly, and 
Tulip Crane. Awards at Sundance & 
Raindance. Call for quotes & reel at (212) 
208-0968; www.dpFlynt.com. 

CINEMATOGRAPHER available with Aaton 
LTR54 Super 16 and lighting gear for 
docs, shorts, features, spots and music 
videos. Flexible rates. Perfectly fluent in 
English, German, French. Call Philippe 
Rohdewald at (917) 549-3537 or email 
prohdewald@hotmail.com. 



COMPOSER: Creative, experienced multi- 
faceted composer/sound designer excels in 
any musical style and texture to enhance 
your project. Credits incl. award winning docs, 
features, TV films, animations on networks, 
cable, PBS, MTV. Full prod, studio in NYC. 
Columbia MA in composition. Free demo CD 
& consult. Elliot Sokolov (212) 721-3218; 
elliotsoko@aol.com. 

COMPOSER: Experienced, award-winning 
Yale conservatory grad writes affordable music 
in any style that will enhance your project. 
Save money without compromising creativity. 
Full service digital recording studio. Free demo 
CD; initial consultation. Call Joe Rubenstein; 
(212) 242-2691 ; joe56@earthlink.net. 

COMPOSER MIRIAM CUTLER loves to 
collaborate: docs, features. 2002 Berlin "Lost 
In La Mancha", Sundance/POV "Scout's 
Honor" & "Licensed To Kill", Peabody "The 
Castro", "Pandemic: Facing Aids" & more. 
(310) 398-5985; mir.cut@verizon.net 

COMPOSER: Perfect music for your project. 
Orchestral to techno - you name it! Credits 
incl. NFL, PBS, Travel Channel, Sundance, 
Hamptons and many others Bach, of Music, 
Eastman School. Quentin Chiappetta (718) 
782-4535; medianoise@excite.com. 

COMPOSER w/10+ year career, Orchestra 
score synth mock-up specialist of "The Shipping 
News" 2001 Miramax, "Country Bears" 2002 
Disney, "The Core" 2002 Paramount LA area 
http://haseo.com. Haseo Nakanishi (323) 933- 
3797; haseo@haseo.com. 

COMPOSER: Wealth of collaborative expe- 
rience composing imaginative music for 
award winning films. Complete digital audio 
studio. Sound design, surround mastering. 
Extensive sound/sample libraries. Craig Slon; 
(718) 369-3058; aracu@juno.com. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ Aaton 
Super 16/1 6mm and Arri 35BL-2 camera 
pkgs. Expert Lighting & Camerawork for 
independent films. Create that "big film" look 
on a low budget. Great prices. Matthew (617) 
244-6730; (845) 439-5459; mwdp@att.net. 

DP WITH FILM, VIDEO & LIGHTING/GRIP 

packages. Extensive documentary & inde- 
pendent project experience. Well-traveled, 
multi-lingual and experience field prod- 
ucing as well. Call Jerry for reel/rates: 
(71 8) 398-6688 or email jryrisius@aol.com. 



72 The Independent | January/February 2003 



EDITOR: FINAL CUT PRO BETA SP & DV, 

editor with private suite. Wide range 
of experience: narrative, music videos, 
documentaries, industrials & promos. Reel 
available, affordable prices. East Village 
location. Call (917) 523-6260, or check 
www.HighNoonProd.com. 

GRANTWRITING/FUNDRAISING: 

Research, writing & strategy (for prod- 
uction, distribution, exhibition, & educational 
projects of media). Successful proposals to 
NYSCA, NEA, NEH, ITVS, Soros, Rockefeller, 
Lila Acheson Wallace Foundation. Fast 
writers, reasonable rates. Wanda Bershen, 
(212) 598-0224; www.reddiaper.com; or Geri 
Thomas (212) 625-201 1 ; www.artstaffing.com. 

INDEPENDENT PICTURES: experienced 
Line Producer available to help with your 
Detailed Budget, Script Breakdown, Shooting 
Schedule, and/or Day-out-of-Days. Specialty 
is low budget but high quality. Email 
AnnettaLM@aol.com for rates and references. 

LOCATION SOUND: Over 20 yrs sound 
exp. w/ timecode Nagra & DAT, quality mics. 
Reduced rates for low-budget projects. 
Harvey & Fred Edwards, (518) 677-5720; 
edfilms@worldnet.att.net. 

OPPORTUNITIES • GIGS 

50 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR VIDEO BUSI- 
NESS. Free report. Grow a successful video 
business in Legal, Wedding, Corporate, TV and 
more, http://videouniversity.com/50web.htm. 

FILMMAKER: Temple University's Depart- 
ment of Film and Media Arts is seeking an 
active independent director/producer for a 
tenure-track position at the Associate or Full 
Professor level. The ideal candidate will have a 
national/international track record in fiction 
filmmaking. The successful candidate will 
teach from among the following courses in 
producing, directing, screen performance, 
and/or advanced filmmaking, and/or film mar- 
keting. Rank and salary commensurate with 
experience. Film and Media Arts has 13 full- 
time faculty, a nationally ranked Graduate 
Program, and 600 undergraduates in a 
dynamic program dedicated to independent 
media including documentary, new media and 
alternative voices in narrative film and video. 
An MFA, PHD, or equivalent professional 
experience is required, along with an impres- 
sive portfolio of creative work in film, video or 
digital media, or a combination of scholarly and 
creative work. The search will remain open 
until the position is filled. Please submit a 



cover letter, vita and contact information for 
three references to: David Parry, Chair, Film 
Search, Film & Media Arts, Temple University, 
Philadelphia, PA 19122. Find out more about 
Film and Media Arts at www.temple.edu/fma. 

ONE DAY FULL IMMERSION DIGITAL 

filmmaking course in NY for $79. Learn 
everything you need to know to make a film 
for under $10,000. The ten hour course cov- 
ers script writing, casting, lighting, camera 
techniques using the Canon XL-1, shooting 
coverage, editing, budgeting., etc. The course 
is taught by independent filmmakers who 
have made films at this budget. Call 
PC Productions, Inc. at (201) 251-9722 for 
details on the course. 

POSTPRODUCTION: Temple's Department 
of Film and Media Arts is seeking an inde- 
pendent media producer who possesses 
exceptional technical, conceptual and theo- 
retical skills in postproduction, sound and 
documentary filmmaking, and an outstanding 
portfolio of work for a tenure track appoint- 
ment. The successful candidate will also have 
a strong background in digital filmmaking, 
documentary film theory and production, com- 
munity outreach and/or media literacy. Rank 
and salary commensurate with experience. 
Film and Media Arts has 13 full-time faculty, 
a nationally ranked Graduate Program, and 
600 undergraduates in a dynamic program 
dedicated to independent media including 
documentary, new media and alternative voic- 
es in narrative film and video. An MFA, PhD, or 
equivalent professional experience, is 
required along with an impressive portfolio of 
creative work in film, video or digital media, or 
a combination of scholarly and creative work. 
The search will remain open until the position 
is filled. Please submit a cover letter, vita and 
contact information for three references to: 
Allan Barber, Chair, Postproduction Search, 
Film & Media Arts, Temple University, 
Philadelphia, PA 19122. Find out more about 
Film and Media Arts at www.temple.edu/fma. 

PREPRODUCTION 

BUDGETS/INVESTOR PACKAGE: Exper- 
ienced Line Producer will prepare script 
breakdowns, shooting schedules & detailed 
budgets. Movie Magic equipped. Credit cards 
accepted. Indie rates. Mark (212) 340-1243 
or LineProducerNYC@aol.com. 

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January/February 2003 | The Independent 73 




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Rewrites available. (212) 219-9224; 
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POSTPRODUCTION 

AUDIO POST PRODUCTION: Full service 
audio post-production services for the inde- 
pendent filmmaker. Mix-to-pic, ADR, voice- 
over, sound design and editing. Pro Tools 5.1 
environment. Contact Andrew: (718) 349- 
7037; brooksy647@aol.com. 

AVID EDITOR: Over 25 feature films. Also 
Trailers, Docs, TV, Reels. Fully equipped 
Tribeca AVID suite, FCP, DVD. Pro Tools edit- 
ing & mixing. Very fast & easy to get along 
with. Credit cards accepted. Drina (212) 
561-0829. DrinaL@aol.com. 

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a professional editor & experienced teacher. 
Affordable: small classes and private tutori- 
als, hands-on training. Call (917) 523-6260 
or check www.HighNoonProd.com. 

BRODSKY & TREADWAY: Film-to-tape 
masters. Reversal only. Regular 8mm, Super 
8, or archival 1 6mm, We love early B&W & 
Kodachrome. Scene-by-scene only. Correct 
frame rates. For appt. call (978) 948-7985. 

FINAL CUT PRO SYSTEM RENTAL: Dual 
800mHz G4 with Dig Voodoo 1:1 for broad- 
cast, or 450m Hz G4 for DV quality. Also, 
Apex DVD player w/o mvision for digitizing. 
Will deliver. Consulting avail. Rick Brown 
(917) 518-2896, rickbnyc@aol.com. 

PRODUCTION TRANSCRIPTS: Verbatim 
transcripts for documentaries, journalists, etc. 
Low prices & flat rates based on tape length. 
Standard 1 hr., 1-on-1 interview is only $80: 
www.productiontranscripts.com for details or 
call: (888) 349-3022. 

SOUND EDIT/DESIGN/MIX: Dozens 
of Feature films. Experienced and fully 
equipped with Pro Tools HD. Also shorts, tel- 
evision, documentaries, trailers, spots. 
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AIVF members can search all 

benefits, classifieds, and notice 

listings with the AIVF resource 

directory at 

www.aivf.org/listings 



74 The Independent | January/February 2003 



Unless noted, AIVF programs take 
place at our offices (see below). RSVP 
is required for all AIVF events: call 
(212) 807-1400 x301 or www.aivf.org. 



January 






AIVF COSPONSORS 
REEL ROUNDTABLE 
Distribution Night w/ IFC Films 

when: January 13, 7:30 p.m. 
where: The Gene Frankel Theater 
24 Bond Street, New York, NY 
www.reelroundtable.com 

See a sneak preview of Lost in La 
Mancha (see page 35), followed by a 
Q&A with IFC Films' Greg Forston 
and Kelly DeVine. 

^SUNDANCE 

J FILM FESTIVAL 
AIVF AT SUNDANCE 2003 

FILMMAKER LODGE 

when: January 22 
www.sundance.org 

Building on the success of the House 
of Docs, this year Sundance intro- 
duces the Filmmaker Lodge, which 
provides an informal meeting point 
for documentary and dramatic film- 
makers to network, share resources 
and gain new insights. The Lodge will 
host a series of panels, a resource 
library, and receptions and gatherings 
designed to cultivate dialogue between 
established and emerging filmmakers, 
industry leaders, and the press. Stop 
by on the 22nd to visit with represen- 
tatives of ATVF! 

DOCUMENTARY DIALOGUES 

300 Hours of Footage and 
Counting. Now What? 

when: January 28, 6:30-8:30 p.m. 
Wine reception until 9:30 p.m. 



where: ATVF 

cost: $5 members/$20 general 

After you've shot everything that 
moves and then some, what do you 
do? Share and learn with your peers 
how to organize postproduction in an 
effective, economical way. Learn when 
it's best to hire the editor, and differ- 
ent ways to organize the footage, fast 
and easy. Turn the hell of postproduc- 
tion into the paradise! Hosted by 
filmmaker and script/documentary 
doctor Fernanda Rossi. 

MEET AND GREET 

WGA EAST 

when: January 30, 6:30-8:30 p.m. 

where: ATVF 

cost: $10 members/$20 general 

Join representatives of the Writers 
Guild of America to learn the ins and 



reach AIVF... 

Filmmakers' Resource Library 

hours: Wed. 11-9 

by apt. to AIVF members 

Tue., Thur., Fri. 11-6. 

The AIVF office is located at 

304 Hudson St. (between Spring & 

Vandam) 6th fl., in New York City. 

(Subways: 1 or 9 to Houston, 

C or E to Spring.) 

Our Filmmakers' Resource Library 
houses hundreds of print and 
electronic resources, from essential 
directories & trade magazines to 
sample proposals & budgets. 

By Phone: (21 2) 807-1 400 
Recorded information available 
24/7; operator on duty Tues.-Fri. 
2-5 p.m. EST 

By internet: 

www.aivf.org; info@aivf.org 



outs of protecting your script while 
navigating and negotiating its sale. 

AIVF COSPONSORS 

The 22nd Annual 

Black Maria Film Festival 

Premiere: Friday, January 31, 8 p.m. 
Margaret Williams Theatre, 
New Jersey City University 
Contact: (201) 200-2043 
www.blackmariafdmfestival.com 

The Black Maria Film Festival tour, 
dedicated to exhibiting compelling 
new independent media that expands 
the expressive terrain of film and 
video, kicks off on January 11 in 
Jersey City. At press time, over 30 
cities have been booked for the 
national tour! 

February 

MEET AND GREET 

TAXES FOR INDEPENDENTS 

when: February 4, 6:30-8:30 p.m. 

where: AIVF 

cost: $10 members/$20 general 

Join CPAs Steve Cooperberg (Todres 
& Rubin) and Martin Bell (Bell & Co.) 
to learn the skinny on filing taxes as 
an independent contractor or small 
business. The workshop will be fol- 
lowed by short meetings with partici- 
pants (bring your questions!) 



AIVF COSPONSORS 

SF INDEPENDENT 
FILM FESTIVAL 

when: February 6-16 
www.sfindie.com 



W 



The fifth annual SF Indie Fest offers a 
showcase for alternative and inde- 
pendent film. Screenings at the 
Castro, Roxie, and Expression Center 
for New Media theaters. 



January/February 2003 | The Independent 75 



STAY TUNED: 

FCC PUBLIC HEARING 

regional meetings 

with Commissioner Copps 

In February, the FCC will hold at least one 
public hearing to solicit input for the 
Ownership Rules for Broadcasters review. 
In addition, Commissioner Copps has 
pledged to travel to communities to hear 
from Americans on what he is calling "the 
single most important decision the FCC will 
make next year." AlVFis working with a 
coalition of groups to help facilitate these 
meetings. Watch www.aivf.org/advocacy 
for up-to-date information! 



DOCUMENTARY DIALOGUES at 

THE DIRECTOR'S VIEW FILM FESTIVAL 

Are Documentaries Really 
about the Truth? 

when: February 16, 9:30-11:00 a.m. 
where: Stamford, CT 
www. chedirectorsview.com 



AIYF joins the 4th Annual Director's 
View Film Festival (Feb. 13-17) in pre- 
senting a special meeting of Docu- 
mentary Dialogues. How true are doc- 
umentaries? Can the film medium cap- 
ture what is really happening? How 
does the editing process affect this? 
Join us for a lively and entertaining dis- 
cussion with your peer filmmakers and 
film buffs. Hosted by Doc Doctor 
Fernanda Rossi. 



IN BRIEF 

FINANCING: 
PRIVATE RESOURCES 

when: Feb. 20, 6:30-8:30pm 

where: AIVF 

cost: $20 members/$30 general 



The AIVF Producers' Legal Series helps 
answer common legal questions and 
introduces independents to future 
legal resources. This session deals with 
issues around individual contributors 




and private investors. Series moderator 
Innes Smolansky is an entertainment 
attorney with Cowan, DeBaets, 
Abrahams & Sheppard. She specializes 
in representing independent produc- 
ers, writers and directors. 

AIVF MEMBER DISCOUNT 

FILMS AT LINCOLN CENTER 

where: Walter Reade Theatre, Lincoln 
Center, 165 West 65 St., NYC, NY 
www.filmlinc.com 

AIVF members may attend select 

series (listed below) at a discounted 

rate— just $5 per ticket. Bring your 

membership 

card to the box 

office! ►-^■B 

1/10-1/18 Dance on Camera 2003 

1/11-1/23 Jewish Film Festival 

1/24-1/30 Soviet Sounds 

1/31-2/13 Film Comment Selects 

2/19-3/6 Allan Dwan Retrospective 





for all your audio needs 
www.pro-sound.com 

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76 The Independent | January/February 2003 



II 



111* 



AIVF offers many benefits 
to our members. 

For complete details, including con- 
tact information and discount codes, 
visit www.aivf.org (Note: you must 
provide your membership number to 
log on) or call (212) 807-1400 x506 to 
have a Member Benefits List mailed 
to you. This information was last 
updated November 2002. 



WWW.AIVF.ORG/ 
RESOURCES/BENEFITS 



AIVF Offers 

• Discounts on FIVF Publications 

• Discounted admission to dozens of programs 
offered or co-presented by AIVF across the US 

• AIVF Mailing List Discounts reach a core group 
of folks who appreciate indie media! 

• Discounts on Classified ads in The Independent 

Trade Discount Partners: 

Production Insurance 

• Marvin S. Kaplan Insurance Agency 

Health Insurance 

• Bader Associates 

• RBA Insurance Strategies (NY only) 

• Teigit (for CIGNA health plans) 

Homeowners & Auto Insurance 

• CGA Associates 

Dental Insurance 

• Bader Associates 

• Teigit/CIGNA 

Stock & Expendibles 

• Eastman Kodak (New York, NY) 

Production Resources 

• Bee Harris Productions (Wit. Vernon, NY) 

• Downtown Community TV Center (New York, NY) 

• Edgewood Motion Picture Studios (Rutland, VT) 

• Film Friends (FL & NY) 

• Five Points Media (New York, NY) 

• Glidecam Industries (Plymouth, MA) 

• Hello World Communications (New York, NY) 

• Production Central (New York, NY) 



• Tandem Studios (New York, NY) 

• Victory Studios (WA and CA) 

• Yellow Cat Productions (Washington, DC) 

Labs & Transfer Houses 

• Cinepost (Atlanta, GA) 

Editing & Postproduction 

• Diva Edit (New York, NY) 

• Downtown Community TV Center (New York, NY) 

• Five Points Media (New York, NY) 

• Hello World Communications (New York, NY) 

• Island Media International (New York, NY) 

• eMedia Loft (New York, NY) 

• Mercer Media (New York, NY) 

• Mint Leaf Productions (New York, NY) 

• Northeast Negative Matchers, Inc. 
(Springfield, MA) 

• Outpost Digital (New York, NY) 

• The Picture Room (New York, NY) 

• Public Interest Video Network (Washington, DC) 

• RandomRoom (Brooklyn, NY) 

• Ren Music, Inc. (Rahway, NJ) 

• Solar Films (New York, NY) 

• Sound Dimensions Editorial (New York, NY) 

• Splash Studios (New York, NY) 

• Tandem Studios, LLC (New York, NY) 

• Tiny Lights, Inc. (New York, NY) 

• Video Active Productions (New York, NY) 

• Virgin Moon Post (Ventura, CA) 

Other Production Services 

• Airborne Express/ Meridian One Corp 

• Affinity Lab (Washington, DC) 

• Final Draft, Inc. 

• Image Design Studio (New York, NY) 

• Media Services (Omaha, NE) 

• ProductionClassifieds.com 

Publications 

• Drama Book Shop (New York, NY) 

• The Hollywood Reporter 

• Variety 

MovieTickets 

• Working Advantage (national) 

• Cinema Village (New York, NY) 

• Film Society of Lincoln Center (New York, NY) 

Car Rental 

• Alamo 

• Avis 

• Budget 

• Hertz 

• National 



Hotels 

• Choice Hotels International chain, including 

Duality Inn 
Comfort Inn 
Sleep Inn 
Clarion Hotels 
EconLodge 
Rodeway Inn 
Mainstay Suites 

Internet Services 

• Echo Communications Group, Inc. 

• FreeSpeechTV.org 

• IMDbPro.com 

Legal Consulting 

• Hollywood Script Research (Hollywood, CA) 

• Daniel, Seigel and Bimbler, LLC (New York, NY) 

• Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard 
(New York, NY) 

• Stephen Mark Goldstein (New York, NY) 

• Law Offices of Mark Litwak (Beverly Hills, CA) 

• Ivan Saperstein, Attorney at Law 
(New Rochelle, NY) 

• Law Offices of Miriam Stern (New York, NY) 

Financial Services 

• Bell & Co., LLP (New York, NY) 

• Guardian Life Insurance (New York, NY) 

• Media Services (New York, NY) 

• Merrill Lynch (New York, NY) 

• Park Avenue Mortgage Group (New York, NY) 

• Premiere Tax & Accounting Services 
(New York, NY) 

• Todres & Rubin, CPAs (New York, NY) 

• Janney, Montgomery, Scott, LLC (Nationwide) 

Classes 

• Video Symphony (Burbank, CA) 

• Film Video Arts (New York, NY) 

• Downtown Community TV Center 
(New York, NY) 

Everything Else 

• Two Boots (New York, NY) 

• Michelle Frank, CSW (New York, NY) 

• Northern Outfitters (Draper, UT) 

If you would like to see more compa- 
nies from your area of the country on 
this list, contact Priscilla Grim at (212) 
807-1400 x236. To receive these bene- 
fits, visit www.aivf.org or call (212) 807- 
1400 to join AIVF today! 



January/February 2003 | The Independent 77 



FIVF THANKS 



The Foundation for Independent Video and Film (FIVF), the educational affiliate of the Association for Independent Video and 
Filmmakers (AIVF), supports a variety of programs and services for the independent media community, including publication of 
The Independent and a series of resource publications, seminars and workshops, and information services. None of this work 
would be possible without the generous support of the AIVF membership and the following organizations: 



W 



NYSCA 



The Academy Foundation 
Empire State Development 

Forest Creatures Entertainment, Inc. 
Home Box Office 

The J.R Morgan Chase Foundation 



John D. and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation 

The National Endowment for the Arts 

New York Foundation for the Arts 

New York State Council on the Arts 

Sony Electronics Corporation 

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation 



We also wish to thank the following individuals and organizational members: 



Nonprofit Members: AL Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival; CA: 
Berkeley Documentary Center; Film Arts Foundation; Filmmakers 
Alliance; Fireside Foundation; International Buddist Film Festival; Media 
Fund; San Diego Asian Film Festival; San Francisco Jewish Film Festival; 
USC School of Cinema TV; CO; Colorado Film Commission; Denver 
Center Media; DC: Media Access Project; FL Miami Gay & Lesbian Film 
Festival; Sarasota Film Festival; University of Tampa; Valencia 
Community College; GA: Atlanta Black Film Festival, Inc.; Imagae Film 
and Video Center; Savannah College of Art and Design; HI: Pacific 
Islanders in Communications; IL Art Institute of ChicagoAfideo Data 
Bank; Community Television Network; Light Bound; Northern Illinois 
University, Dept. of Communication; Rock Valley College; KY: 
Appalshop; MA: CCTV; Documentary Educational Resources; LEF 
Foundation; Long Bow Group, Inc.; Lowell Telecommunications Group 
Visual and Media Arts, Emerson College; WGBH Education Foundation 
MD: Laurel Cable Network; ME: Maine Photographic Workshops; Ml 
Ann Arbor Film Festival; MN: Intermedia Arts; IFP/MSP; Walker Art 
Center; MO: Webster University Film Series; MS: Magnolia Independent 
Film Festival; NC: Cucalorus Film Foundation; Duke University, Film and 
Video; Empowerment Project; UNC Greensboro, Broadcasting and 
Cinema; NE: AIVF Salon/Lincoln; Great Plains Film Festival; Ross Film 
Theater, UN-Lincoln; NH: Telluride Film Festival; NJ: Black Maria Film 
Festival; College of NJ, Dept. of Communication Studies; Freedom Film 
Society; NM: Taos Talking Pictures; NY: After Dark Productions; 
American Museum of Natural History; Art21; Center for New American 
Media; Cinema Arts Center; Children's Media Project; Communications 
Society; Cornell Cinema; Council for Positive Images, Inc.; Creative 
Capital Foundation; Crowing Rooster Arts; Department of Media Study, 
SUNY Buffalo; Donnell Media Center; Downtown Community Television; 
Electronic Arts Intermix; Experimental TV Center; EVC; Film Forum; Film 
Society of Lincoln Center; Film Video Arts; Globalvision, Inc.; Hudson 
Valley Media Arts Center; International Film Seminars; John Jay High 
School; Listen Up!; Mimetic Media; Manhattan Neighborhood Network; 
National Foundation for Jewish Culture; National Video Resources; New 
School University Film Department; Nina Winthrop and Dancers; New 
York Film Academy; New York Women in Film and Television; Paper 
Tiger Television; POV/The American Documentary; Pratt Institute; Ross 
Media Center; Squeaky Wheel; Standby Program; Stanton Crenshaw 
Communication; Stony Brook Film Festival; Syracuse University; 
Upstate Films, Ltd.; Witness; Women Make Movies; OH: Athens Center 
for Film and Video; Media Bridges Cincinnati; Ohio Independent Film 
Festival; Wexner Center for the Arts; OR: Media Arts, MHCC; Northwest 
Film Center; PA: American Poetry Center; Desales University, 
Department of the Performing Arts; PA Council on the Arts; Department 
of Film and Video, Carnegie Museum of Art; Great Lakes Film 
Association; Greenworks; Philadelphia Independent Film and Video 
Association; Prince Music Theater; Scribe Video Center; Temple 



University; University of the Arts; WYBE Public TV 35; Rl: Flickers Arts 
Collaborative; SC: South Carolina Arts Commission; Hybrid Films; TX: 
Austin Film Society; Southwest Alternate Media Project; Worldfest; UT 
Sundance Institute; VA: PBS; PBS Midwest; VA Department of Drama 
VT: The Noodlehead Network; WA: Seattle Central Community College 
France: The Camargo Foundation; Germany: International Shorts Film 
Festival; India: Foundation for Universal Responsibility; Peru: Guarango 
Cine y Video; Singapore: Ngee Ann Polytechnic Library 

Business/Industry Members: AZ: Aaquinas Productions, Inc.; 
CA: Action/Cut Directed by Seminars; Attaboc, LLC; Bluprint Films; 
David Keith Company; Eastman Kodak Co.; Groovy Like a Movie; The 
Hollywood Reporter; MPRM; SJPL Films, Ltd.; Video Arts; CO: The 
Crew Connection; Makers Muse; DC: 48 Hour Film Project; FL: 
GeekPower; Vision Films; IL: Buzzbait; Roxie Media Corporation; 
Screen Magazine; MA: Glidecam Industries; MD: The Learning 
Channel; Ml: Grace & Wild Studios, Inc.; MN: Aquaries Media; NH 
Kinetic Films; NJ: Monkey Rant Productions; NY: American Montage 
Analog Digital Int'l, Inc.; ArtMar Productions; Asset Pictures, Inc. 
Black Bird Post; C-Hundred Film Corporation; Cataland Films; Code 
16/Radical Avid; Cypress Films; Daniel, Seigel & Bimbler, LLP; 
Docurama,- Dr. Reiff and Assoc.; Field Hand Productions, Inc.; Forest 
Creatures Entertainment; Gartenberg Media Enterprises; HBO; Interflix; 
Jalapeno Media; Mad Mad Judy; MacKenzie Culter, Inc.; The Means of 
Production, Inc.; Mercer Media; Metropolis Film Lab, Inc.; Mixed 
Greens; Moxie Firecracker Films; One Kilohertz; The Outpost; Outside 
in July, Inc.; Persona Films, Inc.; Post Typhoon Sky, Inc.; Prime 
Technologies; Robert Seigel Entertainment Law; Robin Frank 
Managment; Symphony of Chaos Productions; Webcasting Media 
Productions, Inc.; Wildlight Productions; XEL Media; Zanzibar 
Productions, Inc.; PA: Cubist Post and Effects; Janny Montgomery 
Scott, LLC; Schiff Media/SBS Films; Smithtown Creek Productions; TX: 
The Media Cottage, Inc.; Shootz Production Group; Tempest Production 
Company; VA: Dorst MediaWorks; The Project Studio 

Friends of FIVF: Sabina Maja Angel, Marion Appel, Phillip 
Aupperle, James J. Batzer, Dana Brisco Brown, Margaret Brown, 
Michael J. Camoin, Liz Canner, Hugo M.J. Cassirer, Aaron Edison, 
Marils Ernst, Christopher Farina, Daniel Fass, John Franco, Giovanni 
G., Sarah Jacobson, Jane Jaffin, Jewish Communal Fund, John 
Kavanaugh, Vivian Kleiman, Lyda Kuth, Leonard Kurz, Bart Lawson, 
Michelle Lebrun, Rhonda Leigh, Jim McKay, Diane Markrow, Sheila 
Nevins, Pamela Pacelli, Elizabeth Peters, Amalie Rothschild, Robert 
Sapadin, John B. Schwartz, Robert L. Seigel, Esq., Mary Smith, Rahdi 
Taylor, Temple University, Joyce Vaughn, Cynthia Veliquette Ph.D., Bart 
Weiss, Mary H. Wharton, Paul Wood 



The AIVF Regional Salons provide an 
opportunity for members to discuss 
work, meet other independents, share 
war stories, and connect with the AIVF 
community across the country. 

Visit www.aivf.org/regional for an 
overview of the broad variety of regional 
salon programs as well as up-to-date 
information on programs. 

Be sure to contact your local Salon 
leader to confirm date, time, and location 
of the next meeting! 

Albany/Troy, NY: 
Upstate Independents 

When: First Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: Arts Center of the Capital Region 

265 River Street, Troy, NY 

Contact: Jeff Burns, (518) 366-1538 

albany@aivf.org 

www.upstateindependents.org 

Atlanta, GA: IMAGE 

When: Second Tuesdays, 7 p.m. 

Where: Redlight Cafe 

553 Amsterdam Ave. 

Contact: Mark Smith, (404) 352-4225, xl2 

atlanta@aivf.org; www.imagefv.org 

Austin, TX: Austin Film Society 

When: Last Mondays, 7 p.m. 
Contact: Jen White, (512) 917-3027 
austin@aivf.org; www.austinfilm.org 

Boston, MA: Center for 
Independent Documentary 

Contact: Fred Simon, (781) 784-3627 
boston@aivf.org 

Boulder, CO: 

"Films for Change" Screenings 

When: First Tuesdays, 7 p.m. 
Where: Boulder Public Library 
1000 Arapahoe 

Contact: Linda Mamoun, (303) 442- 
8445; boulder@aivf.org 

Charleston, SC: 

When: Last Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: Charleston County Library 

68 Calhoun Street 

Contact: Peter Paolini, (843) 805-6841; or 

Peter Wentworth, charleston@aivf.org 



Salons are run by AIVF members, often 
in association with local partners. AIVF 
has resources to assist enthusiastic and 
committed members who wish to start a 
salon in their own community! Please 
call (212) 807-1400, x236, or e-mail 
members@aivf.org for information. 



Cleveland, OH: 

Ohio Independent Film Festival 

Contact: Annetta Marion or Bernadette 
Gillota, (216) 651-7315; cleveland@aivf.org 
www.ohiofilms.com 

Columbia, SC: 

When: Second Sundays 
Where: Art Bar, 1211 Park St. 
Contact: Wade Sellers, (803) 929-0066 
columbia@aivf.org 

Dallas, TX: 

Video Association of Dallas 

Contact: Bart Weiss, (214) 428-8700 
dallas@aivf.org 

Edison, NJ: 

Contact: Allen Chou, (732) 321-0711 
edison@aivf.org; www.passionriver.com 

Fort Wayne, IN: 

Contact: Erik Mollberg 

(260) 421-1248; fortwayne@aivf.org 

Houston, TX: SWAMP 

When: Last Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: 1519 West Main 

Contact: Mary Lampe, (713) 522-8592 

houston@aivf.org 

Huntsville, AL: 

Contact: Charles White 
huntsville@aivf.org 



Fort Wayne Independents 
Kick Off Indiana Salon! 

This past April, Fort Wayne hosted the 
first AIVF Salon to an enthusiastic audi- 
ence. Our theme ("We Know You're Out 
There") came about because we knew of 
many local independents that produced 
works but rarely got the chance to get 
themselves promoted in the community. 
We were pleased and surprised at the 
quality that was submitted for this first 
salon. We had everything from the script- 
ed drama Apartment 2C to a documen- 
tary on the race riots in Muncie, Indiana. 

The following months saw a buzz of 
activity within the local filmmaker com- 
munity. We are excited about our future 
AIVF Salons and have several plans for 
the upcoming year. 

— Erik Mollberg 




Jefferson County, AL: 

Contact: Paul Godby, (205) 956-3522 
jeffersoncounty@aivf.org 

Lincoln, NE: Nebraska 
Independent Film Project 

When: Second Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. 
Where: Telepro, 1844 N Street 
Contact: Jared Minary, lincoln@aivf.org 
www.lincolnne.com/nonprofit/nifp 

Los Angeles, CA: EZTV 

When: Third Mondays, 7:30 p.m. 

Where: EZTV, 1653 18th St. 

Santa Monica. 

Contact: Michael Masucci 

(310) 829-3389; losangeles@aivf.org 

Milwaukee, Wl: Milwaukee 
Independent Film Society 

When: First Wednesdays, 7 p.m. 

Where: Milwaukee Enterprise Center, 

2821 North 4th, Room 140 

Contact: Laura Gembolis 

(414) 688-2375; milwaukee@aivf.org 

www.mifs.org/salon 

Portland, OR: 

Contact: David Bryant, (503) 244-4225 
portland@aivf.org 

Rochester, NY: 

When: First Wednesdays, 7 p.m. 

(Subject to change; call to confirm 

schedule) 

Where: Visual Studies Workshop 

Contact: W. Keith McManus 

(716) 256-3871; rochester@aivf.org 

San Diego, CA: 

Contact: Ethan van Thillo 

(619) 230-1938; sandiego@aivf.org 

San Francisco, CA: 

Contact: Tami Saunders 

(650) 271-0097; sanfrancisco@aivf.org 

Seattle, WA: 

Contact: Heather Ayres 

(206) 297-0933; Jane Selle Morgan 

(206) 915-6263; seattle@aivf.org 

Tucson, AZ: 

When: First Mondays, 6 p.m. 
Where: Access Tucson, 124 E. Broadway 
Contact: Rosarie Salerno 
tucson@aivf.org 

Washington, DC: 

Contact: Joe Torres, DC Salon hotline, 
(202) 554-3263, x4 

aivfdcsalonsubscribe@yahoogroups.com 
washingtondc@aivf.org 



January/February 2003 | The Independent 79 



the list 



Learning from Others 



By Jason Guerrasio 



Artists are not created in a vacuum. Filmmakers, like all artists, are inspired, 

nurtured, and shaped by the people who have traveled the road before 

them. Whether it is taken from a book, a peer, or a mentor, the knowledge 

they receive prepares them for the potholes in their career. This month, seven 

filmmakers reveal what they learned from someone about making films. 



The person I have learned the most from about filmmak- 
ing is my mother, Florence Helfand, former assistant 
librarian and president of her synagogue (she is a featured 
subject, "star," of A Healthy Baby Girl and Blue Vinyl). She 
has taught me that there has to be a relationship at the core 
of a film, whether it is about repair and resolution or 
revenge and revolution. There has to be something real and 
personal at stake, and the stakes need to be felt and under- 
stood by the audience. For me this rule holds, whether it's 
documentary or fiction, whether the relationship is as per- 
sonal as with a mother-and-daughter or as large and glob- 
al as a company and its responsibility to its consumers. 
There has to be a heart that is at risk of being broken— and 
it never hurts to be funny. 

— Judith Helfand 
(A Healthy Baby Girl, Blue Vinyl) 



While making Koko, a Talking Gorilla, when asked what to 
expose for, cinematographer Nestor Almendros replied, 
"Always expose for the gorilla." 

— Errol Morris 
(The Thin Blue Line, Stairway to Heaven) 



Geri Ashur was a real mentor, teacher, and friend to me 
when I started out. She had a KEM flatbed in her apartment 
on the Upper West Side in the early seventies, and I thought 
it was the height of cool. We edited a short fdm, Make Out, 
for the Newsreel Collective together. She taught me by let- 
ting me sit down at the editing table at night to try re-cut- 
ting what she had done during the day. It was a crazy way to 
make a fdm, but a great way to learn. But more important- 
ly, Geri passed on to me her incredible love of fdm, of 
process, of French food, of good cooking, and of joy in life. 

— Deborah Shaffer 
(Fire From the Mountain, Dance of Hope) 



The most significant thing I ever learned was from writer/edi- 
tor David Peoples, who taught me to never confuse a good 
time with a good fdm. 

— Jon Else 
(Arthur and Lillie, Yosemite: The Fate of Heaven) 



In the book, Cassavetes on Cassavetes, John Cassavetes says a 
couple hundred things that have taught and inspired me. 
He talks about making mistakes, following your instincts, 
not putting off what your heart is telling you to do in order 
to make some money, and in general, believing in what 
you're doing. I also learned early on that it's crucial to 
develop a group of peers and mentors with whom to con- 
sult, confide in, and just stay in touch with. It's nice to be 
able to confirm that you're not alone in the struggles, cre- 
ative challenges, and hype that constantly threatens your 
optimism and stamina. 

— Jim McKay 
(Girls Town, Our Song) 



While making my film, The Collector of Bedford Street, two 
women, Cynthia Wade and Melissa Hacker, helped mentor 
me. Cynthia pushed me very hard to find the story. 
Sometimes I would be very angry with her, but she really 
made me find a storyline in the footage. Melissa made con- 
structive comments about the shooting, but most of all she 
could merge my very subjective feelings and vision with a 
sense that could make the film accessible to everyone. 

— Alice Elliott 
(The Collector of Bedford Street) 



Lou Rawls would say, "Keep it funky, keep it real." 

— Tom Schiller 
(Nothing Lasts Forever) 

Jason Guerrasio is a staff writer for The Independent. 



80 The Independent | January/ February 2003 



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March 2003 | Volume 26 Number 2 | www.aivf.org 



contents 




Features 



40 IF FTS AUGUST, THIS MUST BE SOUTH AFRICA 

Women Make Movies visits every continent 
not covered in ice to celebrate its thirtieth 
anniversary, [by Debra Zimmerman] 

45 THE WOMEN BEHIND THE CAMERA 

Cinematographers at the forefront of 
independent filmmaking defy limitations on 
women in the industry, [by Ann Lewinson] 

4B STATISTICS How many days a year does a 

female director work? How many women apply 
to film school? And other disquieting realities. 
[compiled by The Independent staff] 

SO FEMINIST FILM AND THE IVORY TOWER: MOVING 
BEYOND THE MALE GAZE AND HOLLYWOOD 

The real world and academia split as feminist 
film theory both expands and contracts under 
the weight of multi-discipline studies. 
[by Patricia R. Zimmermann] 

54 SELECTED READINGS 

Essential texts of feminist media theory 
and criticism, from Laura Mulvey to Christine 
Vachon. [by Sharon Lin Tay] 



On the Cover: Cinematographer Maryse Alberti, whose 
films include Crumb, Happiness, and Velvet Goldmine, set- 
ting up a shot on the set of The Guys (Mark Stephen 
Kornbluth). 

Photos, this page: Women Make Movies Executive 
Director Debra Zimmerman (Mark Stephen Kornbluth); 
Nancy Schreiber (center) on location with director Richard 
Pearce and 1 st AD Cas Donavan on Stand Up Tragedy 
(Myles Aronowitz); Schreiber matched her black-and /vhite 
moving images to stills such as The Falling Soldier in Robert 
Capa: In Love and War (Robert Capa). 

Photos, page 5: Marina Zurkow's animated Braingirl 
(Marina Zurkow); Stephen Fielding is the subject of a new 
Steve James documentary (Magic Lantern); filmmaker 
Yvonne Welbon (Alison Duke); performer and filmmaker 
Annie Sprinkle (Annie Sprinkle); Larry Selman and dog 
Happy are subjects of Alice Elliot's documentary The 
Collector of Bedford Street (Amanda Treyz). 



March 2003 | The Independent 3 



I here is no film festival in the United States quite like it. All the filmmakers are 
brought into a packed house of enthusiastic, educated film goers. 
- Terry Allen Green, writer/director, Almost Salinas 

. . . Your festival stands out as a wholly effective one with a true concern for and focus 
upon its filmmakers and its public. - Adrienne Wehr, producer, The Bread, My Sweet 

It's visionary. 

It's groundbreaking. 

It'S €Utttng m OdgOm - John Anderson, Newsday 




BOffEQ 




8th Annual 

STONY BROOK FILM FESTIVAL 

JULY 16-26, 2003 

Staller Center for the Arts • Stony Brook University, Long Island, NY 

Competitions in 16mm and 35mm films including features, 
shorts, documentaries and animation. Largest venue 
(1 ,000+ seats) and film screen in the region (40 ft. wide). 
Over 14,000 attendees at the 2002 festival. 

For more information, call 631-632-7234 

or email filmfestival@stonybrookfilmfestival.com 

or write to: 

Stony Brook Film Festival 

Staller Center for the Arts 

Rm 2030A Stony Brook University 

Stony Brook, NY 1 1 794-5425 

Entry Deadline: April 15, 2003 
www.stonybrookfilmfestival.com 




2003 STONY BROOK 

FILM FESTIVAL 

JULY 16-26 



// II ^ 




contents 




Upfront 



EDITOR'S LETTER 

9 NEWS Carnegie Museum closes film and video 
department, ending cinema series; Supreme 
Court upholds copyright extention; new copy 
right contracts, [by Charlie Sweitzer; 
Jason Guerrasio] 

13 FIRST PERSON Wisdom from early twentieth 
century feminist film icon on the critical role of 
women in cinema, [by Alice Guy-Blache] 

1 5 PROFILE Yvonne Welbon; Annie Sprinkle. 
[by Cara Mertes; Michaela Grey] 

21 FIELD REPORT Iowa 

[by Kay Frances Scott] 

2S DOC DOCTOR Is it possible to adopt a feminine 
storytelling structure? [by Fernanda Rossi] 

27 SITE SEEING The hybrid art of Marina Zurkow. 
[by Maya Churi] 

29 FUNDER FAQ Women in Film Finishing Fund. 
[by Jason Guerrasio] 

33 FESTIVAL CIRCUIT Sundance sleepers. 
[by Jacque Lynn Schiller] 

38 ON VIEW Steve James {Hoop Dreams) 
turns in a new film odyssey, Stevie; plus 
other work to watch for. [by Jason Guerrasio] 



Departments 



35 LEGAL What a producer's choice of lawyers can 
tell you about the producer, [by Anne C. Baker] 

57 TECH Choosing video compression software for 
faster delivery; the latest version of Cleaner. 
[by Greg Gilpatrick] 

8C THE LIST Inspiring films by women filmmakers. 
[by Jason Guerrasio] 



Listings 

FESTIVALS 
©S FILMS/TAPES WANTED 

NOTICES 
72 CLASSIFIEDS 



AIVF 



AIVF NEWS AND EVENTS 
73 SALONS 



March 2003 \ The Independent 5 




Hello World Communications 



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thelndependent 

■ I FILM (4 VIDEO MONTHLY 

Publisher: Elizabeth Peters 

[pnblisher@aivl.org] 

Editor-in-Chief: Maud Kersnowski 
[edilor@aivf.org] 

Managing Editor: James Ellis 
[independenl@aivl.org] 

Staff Writer: Jason Guerrasio 

|jason@aivf.org] 

Design Director: Suzy Flood 

[sozyl@oplonline.net] 

Production Associate: Joshua Sanchez 

[josh@aivf.org] 

Editorial Interns: Charlie Sweitzer, Kathleen Kirk 

[chas@aivf.org. kalhleeo@aivf.org] 

Contributing Editors: 

Pat Aufderheide, Maya Churi, Bo Mehrad, Cara Mertes, 

Robert L. Seigel, Esq., Patricia Thomson 

Contributing Photographers: Joshua Kessler, 
Mark Stephen Kornbluth 

[josh@joshoakessler.com; mark@msknyc.com] 

Advertising Director: Laura D. Davis 
(212) 807-1400 x225; [displayads@aiv1.org] 

Advertising Representative: Veronica Shea 

(212) 807-1400 x232; [veronica@aivf.org] 

Classified Advertising: James Israel 

(212) 807-1400 x241; [classifieds@aivf.org] 



National Distribution: 
Ingram Periodicals (800) 627-6247 



POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: 

The Independent Film & Video Monthly, 304 Hudson St., 

6 fl„ New York, NY 10013 



The Independent Film & Video Monthly (ISSN 0731-5198) is pub- 
lished monthly (except combined issues January/ February and 
July/August) by the Foundation for Independent Video and Film (FIVF), a 
501(c)(3) dedicated to the advancement of media arts and artists. 
Subscription to the magazine is included in annual membership dues 
($55/yr individual; $35/yr student; $100/yr nonprofit/school; $150/yr 
business/industry) paid to the Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers (AIVF), the national professional association of individuals 
involved in moving image media. Library subscriptions are $75/yr. Contact: 
AIVF, 304 Hudson St, 6 fl„ New York, NY 10013, (212) 807-1400; fax: 
(212) 463-8519; info@aivf.org. 

Periodical Postage paid at New York, New York 
and at additional mailing offices. 

Printed in the 0SA by Cadmus Journal Services. 

WW Publication of The Independent is made possible in part 
V^ with public funds from the New York State Council on the 
raVsmin Arts, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the 
Arts, a federal agency. 

Publication of any ad in 77ie Independent does not constitute an 
endorsement. AIVF/ FIVF are not responsible for any claims made in an ad. 
All contents are copyright of the Foundation for Independent Video and 
Film, Inc. Reprints require written permission and acknowledgement of the 
article's previous appearance in The Independent. The Independent 
is indexed in the Alternative Press Index and is a member of the 
Independent Press Association. 

AIVF/ FIVF staff: Elizabeth Peters, executive director; Alexander Spencer, 
deputy director; Sonia Malta, program director; Priscilla Grim, membership 
and advocacy director; James Israel, Bo Mehrad, information services asso- 
ciates; Avril Speaks, executive assistant; Greg Gilpatrick, technology con- 
sultant; Sue Freel, Monica Brand, Leah Albert, interns; AIVF/FIVF legal 
counsel: Robert I. Freedman, Esq,, Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard. 

AIVF/FIVF Boards of Directors: Angela Alston, Kam Brar, Liz Canner, 
Anne del Castillo, Paul Espinosa, Kyle Henry, Vivian Kleiman*, Reggie Life, 
Jim McKay*, Elizabeth Peters (ex officio), Gail Silva*, Valerie Soe*, 
Rahdi Taylor, Jim Vincent, Jane Wagner*, Bart Weiss. *FIVF Board of 
Directors only. 

© Foundation for Independent Video & Film, Inc. 2003 
Visit The Independent online at: www.aivf.org 



6 The Independent | March 2003 




Editor's 
Letter 

Dear Reader: 
I've been report- 
ing on women in 
independent 
film for five 



years 



now anc 



I've got to admit 
it's a bit depressing. Not all that much 
has changed. The only significant gain 
is that there are more women direc- 
tors at Sundance than there were 
when I started looking at this topic. 
Without any major shifts, the ques- 
tion becomes why write about it? For 
me the answer is that the radical 
underrepresentation of women in the 
film industry both in Hollywood and 
independent film continues to be as 
shocking as the Augusta National 
Golf Club not admitting female mem- 
bers. It continues to shock me when I 
read articles in publications like The 
New York Times that shift the blame to 
women because they choose to have 
children (as if no mother ever chooses 
to work). And I become outraged 
when journalist haul out the argu- 
ment that women are different than 
men and therefore are not capable of 
doing the same job. It's insulting, but 
sometimes it's easier to accept these 
rationales than the other explanation: 
that sexism is alive and well and now 
showing in a theater near you. 

We still live in a world where 
women make $.76 for every dollar 
men earn, and we cannot turn a blind 
eye to this. The only way that I know 
to fight this quiet sexism is to shine a 
light on it. To that end Ann Lewinson 
interviewed one of the smallest 
groups in film, female cinematogra- 
phers (pg. 45). Five years ago, women 
behind the camera on film sets were 
not even a statistical blip, under one 
percent. Today they make up two per- 
cent of the working DP's, and while 
that's nowhere near 51.1 percent it is 
growth (see p. 49). 



More than any other film organiza- 
tion, Women Make Movies has wit- 
nessed the progress of women media, 
and I'm delighted to join them this 
issue in celebrating their thirtieth 
anniversary with Executive Director 
Debra Zimmerman's contribution of 
her travel reflections from her world 
travels over the past year representing 
the organization (pg. 40). 

Feminism and academia have a 
long intwined history. The story of 
women's rights has often also been a 
story of women's education. In this 
issue Patricia Zimmermann investi- 
gates the current state of feminist film 
studies in universities (pg. 50). She 
spoke to some of the leading scholars 
in the US to explore what is being 
studied and how. As a supplement to 
this article Sharon Lin Tay submitted 
a list of required reading for anybody 
wishing to round out their education 
in this area (pg. 34). 

I know that some filmmakers, who 
happen to be women, chaff under the 
label "woman filmmaker." They fear it 
will push their work into that pink 
ghetto "women's films." But as long 
as women continue to be only a sliver 
of the field, the people who dismiss 
films by women as chick flicks will 
continue to do so whether I write 
about these women or not. And if one 
woman reads an article and finds 
inspiration in it, then the risk of being 
painted with a pink brush is worth it. 

Alison Anders once said, "There is 
no such thing as the myth of the girl 
genius." It is our job as the tellers of 
tales in whatever media to create this 
myth. Unlike a story, a myth must be 
told time and again by many people 
from many perspectives before it 
solidifies itself into a cultural belief. 

Thank you for supporting The 
Independent, 

Maud Kersnowki 

editor-in-chief 

editor@aivf.org 



Milton 




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March 2003 | The Independent 7 




«*>< I 



June 19-22, 2003 



Call for Entries 



The first 
Oxford Film Festival 

welcomes films of all lengths and 

genres. Cash and other prizes will 

be awarded in 10 categories. 

Entry fees vary with genre. 

For entry forms log on to 

www.oxfordfihnfest.com 

or contact: 

Elaine Abadie 
Oxford Film Festival 

P.O. Box 544 
Oxford, MS 38655 

662-236-6429 

Fax: 662-236-6988 

entry@oxfordfilmfest.com 




T)ie 2003 Oxford 
Film Festival 
will celebrate 
writer-directors. 



Send completed entry form, 

entry fee, and VHS tape to 

address above. 

DEADLINE: MARCH 15, 2003 



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Screening No More 

CARNEGIE MUSEUM CUTS FILM/VIDEO PROGRAM 
By Charlie Sweitzer 



Earlier this year the Carnegie 
Museum announced it 
would close one of 
Pittsburgh's oldest and 
most renowned screening series and 
shut down the museum's film and 
video department, the result of a $4 
million budget cut for 2003. In addi- 
tion to dropping the film and video 
program, Carnegie Museum is elimi- 
nating seventeen full-time and four 
part-time employees. 

The CMA Cinema series was a 
major outlet for independent and, 
particularly, international film. Last 
year, 120 films were screened at the 
museum, attracting more than 1 1,000 
viewers. Because of the focus on inter- 
national film, CMA Cinema attracted 



large audiences and a great deal of 
support from the city's ethnic com- 
munities. "It was the only thing in 
town [where] afterwards you could 
walk out and hear extensive discourse 
in Farsi," former Carnegie curator Bill 
Judson says. He also notes that the 
Polish community raised money to 
bring Polish films and filmmakers to 
the museum. 

In a press release, Carnegie Museum 
of Art Director Richard Armstrong 
cites "greatly reduced endowment 
income" and the existence of several 
other venues for independent film in 
Pittsburgh, such as Pittsburgh 
Filmmakers, as reasons for the cut- 
backs. But Judson is quick to point 
out that CMA Cinema's focus on fea- 



ture films from abroad, rather than 
American independent and popular 
foreign films, made the museum's 
series unique to the area. 

Kilolo Luckett, director of market- 
ing and public relations at Pittsburgh 
Filmmakers, lists Almodovar's Talk To 
Her and Francois Ozon's 8 Women as 
examples of the type of international 
films that screen at that venue. "The 
wonderful thing about the Carnegie's 
film and video program," she says, "was 
its ability to dedicate a solid run of for- 
eign cultural films from places like 
Japan, Africa, [and] Kazakhstan. This 
unique programming really embodied 
the many different ethnic and cultural 
communities that shape Pittsburgh." 

Even Armstrong admits that CMA 
Cinema's shoes won't be easy to fill. 
"To say that [a series like CMA 

Left: The Grand Staircase, Carnegie 
Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Top: 
Martin Sulik's The Garden, and Bottom: 
Carlos Diegues's Orfeo-films from the 
would-be line-up for 2003. 



March 2003 j The Independent 9 



(."menial could happen elsewhere is 
very naive and disingenuous," he says. 
"I only said ir in rhe press release to 
soften rhe blow." 

Armstrong, who describes cutting 
the program as "an extremely painful 
decision," expresses hope that "some- 
daw we can reconstitute the film pro- 
gram." But the Carnegie Museums do 
not foresee any change in their income 
stream for the next thirty-five 
months. "We are struggling daily to 
find out how something could be sal- 
vaged," he savs. 

The Carnegie Art Museum will con- 
tinue to exhibit film and video artworks. 
Christian Jankowski's video work Puppet 
Conference opened in the museum's 
Forum Gallery in January. "[Film and 
video] should be a crucial part of any art 
museum's program," Armstrong says. 
"Film is the most attractive way to 
increase visual literacy." 

Recent CMA Cinema programs fea- 
tured films from Central Asia, such as 
Ardak Amirkulov's The Fall of Otrar. 
This year's screenings, now canceled, 
included programs of new Brazilian 
and Slovakian films, including Carlos 
Diegues's Orfeu and Martin Sulik's 
Slovakian hit The Garden. 

"[Mjusems have a responsibility to 
the immediate communities they 
serve and to the larger [culture] of the 
country to understand film and video 
as artistic, creative, expressive endeav- 
ors, beyond the kind of thing which 
gets funded and consumed within 
[the] art world," Judson says. "A muse- 
um needs to understand that because 
it doesn't live in the economy and con- 
sumption of the art world, it doesn't 
mean that it's not equally valid as part 
of a larger cultural fabric." 

Supreme Court backs 
Copyright Extensions 

By Charlie Sweitzer 

The Supreme Court recently ruled 
seven to two to uphold the 1998 
Copyright Term Extension Act, which 
many in the media arts world 



opposed because it delays work from 
passing into the public domain for so 
long. The act extended the maximum 
term of copyright from fifty to seven- 
ty-five years for individuals, and sev- 
enty-five to ninety-five years for cor- 
porations. Its constitutionality was 
questioned in a suit filed by internet 
publisher Eric Eldred, Stanford Law 
School professor Lawrence Lessig, 
and others, on grounds that Congress 
had overstepped the Constitution's 
grant of "limited times" to artists and 
inventors for exclusive rights to their 
own works. 

In the decision, Justice Ruth Bader 
Ginsburg stated, "The wisdom of 
Congress's action ... is not within our 
province to second guess," noting, "It 
is Congress that has been assigned the 
task of defining the scope of the limit- 
ed monopoly that should be granted 
to authors." 

The two dissenting votes were cast 
by Stephen G. Breyer and John Paul 
Stevens. Said Stevens, "[T]he Court has 
stated that Congress' actions . . . are, for 
all intents and purposes, judicially 
unreviewable. It is not hyperbole to 
recall the trenchant words of Chief 
Justice John Marshall: 'It is emphatical- 
ly the province and duty of the judicial 
department to say what the law is.'" 

Of special concern to the plaintiffs 
is that the act affects anything that is 
currently held under copyright, not 
only works created after the law was 
passed. In his opening statements 
Lessig said, "When [Congress] legis- 
lates retrospectively, it is, in effect, 
looking at particular authors and 
estates of authors who are before 
Congress asking for this extension, 
and it's choosing between these partic- 
ular authors and the public at large." 

Since the court's ruling, Lessig has 
suggested a $50 yearly tax on copy- 
rights. He argues that this would pre- 
vent works with little or no commer- 
cial potential from needlessly staying 
out of print. 

One of the strongest proponents of 
the 1998 act was the Walt Disney 



Company. Under the old laws, 
Disney's copyright on Mickey Mouse 
would have begun to slip this year, 
when 1928's Steamboat Willie would 
have passed into public domain. In 
1998 Disney spent $475,602 on cam- 
paign contributions and $560,000 on 
lobbying, more than any other studio, 
network, or record label that year. 

The court's ruling has stirred up 
more public debate than might be 
anticipated from a bill that passed vir- 
tually unchallenged through Congress 
half a decade ago. Until now no one has 
questioned the constitutionality of any 
of the numerous extensions to copy- 
right law which have been passed since 
1831. The New York Times ran an entire 
page of coverage of the January 15 rul- 
ing, and Bill Moyers recently dedicated 
an episode of his PBS show NOW to 
copyright issues. 

The publicity brought on by even 
an unsuccessful Supreme Court chal- 
lenge may eventually affect the laws 
that Congress chooses to make. 
"Losing a Supreme Court case has 
often been the road to a successful 
political movement," comments 
James Boyle, a Duke University law 
professor and member of the academ- 
ic Advisory Board of the Electronic 
Privacy and Information Center. 
"Without [such a case], neither the 
public interest nor the public domain 
will get a hearing at the tables of 
power. ... It used to be that intellectu- 
al property rights existed at a great 
distance from the public. Now most 
of us deal with intellectual property 
every day and realize that we are doing 
so ... [I] t is hard to go through a day 
without copying, transforming, redis- 
tributing a mass of digital objects." 

Charlie Sweitzer is a New York-based writer 
who interns at The Independent. 

New Copyright 
Contract 

By Jason Guerrasio 

Creative Commons, a nonprofit organ- 
ization funded by the Center for the 



10 The Independent | March 2003 



Public Domain and based at Stanford 
University, has developed a partial 
copyright license that allows creators to 
reserve some rights for themselves 
while granting others limited free use of 
their work. "Right now the choices are 
total copyright protection or just losing 
your stuff," says Creative Commons 
Executive Director Glenn Otis Brown. 
"What we're proposing is essentially 
recognizing what's in the public 
domain and what's fully owned." 

The Licensing Project offers free 
web-based contracts with four levels 
of copyright protection: 

1. Attribution— Permits anyone to 
copy, distribute, or display works based 
upon your work if they give you credit. 

2. Noncommercial— Permits the 
above attribution rights, but only for 
noncommercial purposes. 

3. No Derivative Works— Permits 
anyone to copy, distribute or display 
your work if they give you credit, but 
they may not use it for derivative works. 

4. Share Alike— Permits others to 
distribute derivative works only under 
a license identical to the license that 
governs your work. 

The copyright also has machine read- 
ability, which means search engines can 
sort results by how material can be 
used. "You essentially label what is free 
to use and what's not," says Brown. 

The idea of a copyright license with 
different levels of protection was orig- 
inally examined in 1999, when faculty 
and students at Harvard Law School 
and MIT explored the possibilities of a 
copyright which allowed creators to 
mix and match consent. Heading the 
program was law professor Lawrence 
Lessig (now chairman of Creative 
Commons) who argued the recent 
Supreme Court case against the copy- 
right extention act. Lessig took the 
project with him when he left the 
Berkman Center for Internet & 



Society at Harvard to join the faculty 
of Stanford University's law school, 
where Creative Commons currently is 
housed. Creative Commons hopes the 
end result of Licensing Project will be 
a document that's sturdy enough to 
hold up in court and simple enough 
to be understood by nonlawyers. 

To start the process, log on to the 
Creative Commons' website (www.cre- 
ativecommons.org) and answer some 
basic questions designed to decipher 
what type of copyright you want. Once 
that procedure is complete, the copy- 
right license is transferred to your web- 
site. A small Creative Commons logo 
will be located at the bottom of your 
web page, which, if clicked on; will dis- 
play the specifics of the copyright. 
"Essentially we're recognizing that copy- 
right is about these fine-grain steps," 
Brown says. "Copyright is made up of a 
bundle of distinct rights like the right to 
distribute, to copy, to make derivative 
works. We're basically helping people 
fine-tune all these little rights." 

Along with the Licensing Project, 
Creative Commons also launched the 
Founders Copyright, that allows the 
licenser to put their material into the 
public domain fourteen years after 
they sign the contract. 

Creative Commons does not 
archive or sort the material. "We're 
offering these legal documents," 
Brown says. "Archiving on top of 
being the tool provider ... is just 
beyond what we can do." 

This spring, Creative Commons 
will launch the Conservancy Project, 
where they'll take donated materials 
and make them available under the 
terms of the donation. This would be 
designed for content developers who 
do not want to retain full control of 
their work, but who want to limit its 
exploitation while it is in the public 
domain. D 

To learn more, log on to 
www.creativecommons.org. 

Jason Guerrasio is a staff writer for 
The Independent. 




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first person 



Woman's Place in 
Photoplay Production 



By Alice Guy-Blache 




efore Hollywood executives crowned the young urban male the king movie- 
goer, film critics declared directing a macho sport, and women won the right 
to vote, Alice Guy-Blache directed the first narrative film. In the course of her 
now largely forgotten career, she directed nearly three hundred more films 
and headed her own highly successful studio. 

This essay, originally published in 1914, presents arguments that may be rooted in a time 
when the women 's suffrage movement often presented the purity and the natural morality of 
women as reasons for passing the Nineteenth Amendment, but it is certainly a more enlight- 
ened view of Mars and Venus than we generally find today in many leading publications. 



It has long been a source of wonder to 
me that many women have not seized 
upon the wonderful opportunities 
offered to them by the motion-picture 
art to make their way to fame and for- 
tune as producers of photodramas. Of 
all the arts, there is probably none in 
which they can make such splendid 
use of talents so much more natural 
to a woman than to a man and so nec- 
essary to its perfection. 

There is no doubt in my mind that 
a woman's success in many lines of 
endeavor is still made very difficult by 
a strong prejudice against one of her 
sex doing work that has been done 
only by men for hundreds of years. Of 
course this prejudice is fast disappear- 
ing, and there are many vocations in 
which it has not been present for a 
long time. In the arts of acting, music, 
painting, and literature, woman has 
long held her place among the most 
successful workers, and when it is con- 
sidered how vitally all of these arts 
enter into the production of motion 
pictures, one wonders why the names 
of scores of women are not found 
among the successful creators of pho- 
todrama offerings. 

Not only is a woman as well fitted 
to stage a photodrama as a man, but 
in many ways she has a distinct advan- 



Film pioneer Alice Guy-Blache, 
1873-1968. 



tage over him because of her very 
nature and because much of the 
knowledge called for in the telling of 
the story and the creation of the stage 
setting is absolutely within her 
province as a member of the gentler 




sex. She is an authority on the emo- 
tions. For centuries she has given 
them full play while man has carefully 
trained himself to control them. She 
has developed her finer feelings for 
generations, while being protected 
from the world by her male compan- 
ions, and she is naturally religious. In 
matters of the heart, her superiority is 



acknowledged, and her deep insight 
and sensitiveness in the affairs of 
Cupid give her a wonderful advantage 
in developing the thread of love that 
plays such an all-important part in 
almost every story that is prepared for 
the screen. All of the distinctive quali- 
ties that she possesses come into 
direct play during the guiding of the 
actors in making their character draw- 
ings and interpreting the different 
emotions called for by the story. For 
to think and to feel the situation 
demanded by the play is the secret of 
successful acting, and sensitiveness to 
those thoughts and feelings is 
absolutely essential to the success of a 
stage director. 

The qualities of patience and gen- 
tleness possessed to such a high 
degree by womankind are also of ines- 
timable value in the staging of a pho- 
todrama. Artistic temperament is a 
thing to be reckoned with while 
directing an actor, in spite of the 
treatment of the subject in the comic 
papers, and a gentle, soft-voiced 
director is much more conducive to 
good work on the part of the per- 
former than the overstern, noisy 
tyrant of the studio. 

Not a small part of the motion-pic- 
ture director's work, in addition to 
the preparation of the story for pic- 
ture-telling and the casting and 
directing of the actors, is the choice of 
suitable locations for the staging of 
the exterior scenes and the supervis- 
ing of the studio settings, props, cos- 
tumes, etc. In these matters, it seems 
to me that a woman is especially well 
qualified to obtain the very best 
results, for she is dealing with sub- 
jects that are almost a second nature 
to her. She takes the measure of every 
person, every costume, every house, 
and every piece of furniture that her 
eye comes into contact with, and the 
beauty of a stretch of landscape or a 
single flower impresses her immedi- 
ately. All of these things are of the 
greatest value to the creator of a pho- 
todrama, and the knowledge of them 



March 2003 j The Independent 13 




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must be extensive and exact. A 
woman's magic touch is immediately 
recognized in a real home. Is it not 
just as recognizable in the home of 
the characters of a photoplay? 

That women make the theatre pos- 
sible from the box-office standpoint is 
an acknowledged fact. Theatre man- 
agers know that their appeal must be 
to the woman if they would succeed, 
and all of their efforts are naturally in 
that direction. This being the case, 
what a rare opportunity is offered to 
women to use that inborn knowledge 
of just what does appeal to them to 
produce photodramas that will con- 
tain that inexplicable something 
which is necessary to the success of 
every stage or screen production. 

There is nothing connected with 
the staging of a motion picture that a 
woman cannot do as easily as a man, 
and there is no reason why she cannot 
completely master every technicality 
of the art. The technique of the 
drama has been mastered by so many 
women that it is considered as much 
her field as man's, and its adaptation 
to picture work in no way removes it 
from her sphere. The technique of 
motion-picture photography, like the 
technique of the drama, is fitted to a 
woman's activities. 

It is hard for me to imagine how I 
could have obtained my knowledge of 
photography, for instance, without 
the months of study spent in the lab- 
oratory of the Gaumont Company in 
Paris at a time when motion-picture 
photography was in the experimental 
stage, and carefully continued since 
[in] my own laboratory in the Solax 
Studios in this country. It is also nec- 
essary to study stage direction by actu- 
al participation in the work, in addi- 
tion to burning the midnight oil in 
your library, but both are as suitable, 
as fascinating, and as remunerative to 
a woman as to a man. D 

(This article originally appeared in 

The Moving Picture World, vol. XXI, 

no. 3, July 11,1914, p. 195.) 



14 The Independent | March 2003 



profile 



Yvonne Welbon 

THE INDIES' OWN SELF-HELP GURU 
By Cara Mertes 



True story: Los Angeles, the 
summer of 2001— filmmak- 
er Yvonne Welbon is in LA 
attending the AFI directing 
workshop. She has just returned from 
ten days as part of the CPB Producers 
Academy, and she's heading off to the 
Sundance Documentary Lab. But 
right now, she is driving around LA 
listening to real estate tapes she 
ordered from a TV ad that claimed 
"you, too, could learn the art of being 
a successful realtor." Yvonne was 
thinking about her future. 

"I didn't have time to do anything 
about it then, but I bought three 
apartments this year. In Chicago, you 
can do that without a lot of money," 
says Welbon. With her producing and 
directing schedule, you might think 
Welbon has no time for anything but 
the indie life of scraping by and work- 
ing towards the next grant. Not true. 
Welbon is a walking library of 
resources, a self-made indie guru ded- 
icated to finding out as much as she 
can about how things "indie" tick, and 




then, like a modern-day Johnny 
Appleseed, spreading her knowledge 
to any who want to hear. 

This calling includes speaking on 
college campuses— she's asked to do 
thirty to forty lectures a year. The talk 
she gives on campuses most frequent- 
ly these days is called 
"Your Film Is a 
Business." Welbon's 
experience is hard-won. 
In 2001 she was practi- 
cally everywhere— mak- 
ing a short narrative at 
AFI, learning the ropes 
at PBS, and network- 
ing at Sundance. And 
she was fundraising 
and showing rough 
cuts for her documen- 
tary Sisters in Cinema, 
the first film about 
African American 

women directors in 
American film. Plus, 
she was self-distribut- 
ing Living with Pride: 
Ruth Ellis at 100, a project that became 
the basis for a case study in support- 
ing yourself through your own film- 
making. In production roles, she has 
collaborated with many of her peers, 
including Cheryl Dunye, Thomas 
Allen Harris, and Cauleen Smith, as 
well as produced one of the few 
lengthy interviews with filmmaker 
Julie Dash. But documentary is her 
first love. 

"I didn't choose to be a feature film 
director," she says when asked about 
why she hasn't been interested in 
going the Hollywood route. "I love the 
documenting of people's lives. I was a 
history major at Vassar, and that's 
where my heart is." For Welbon, the 
search for role models is ever present, 



and the motivation behind her work is 
clear— she is a businesswoman, in the 
business of making stories about the 
experience of black women in 
America, and she is learning every- 
thing she can about it. 

"I was so inspired by what I could 
learn from women that had gone 
before me," she says, about why she 
makes her films. The list is long, 
including recent Sundance Channel 
broadcast of Living with Pride, and a 
P.O.V. broadcast of Remembering Wei 
Yi-Fang Remembering Myself, about her 




six years living in Taiwan. This essay, 
about "forgetting" her formative expe- 
rience of American racism, is in line 
with the autobiographical style of her 
more personal works, including 
Missing Relations and The Taste of Dirt. 
These films, whether narrative or doc- 
umentary essay, always experiment 
formally, showing her predilection for 
recognizing and exploring bound- 
aries—between lives, experiences, and 
styles of work. 

But back to the summer of 2001— 
the work was hard and the expecta- 
tions steep, but all gave her enormous 

Left: Living with Pride subject Ruth 
Ellis; Above: DaShawn Barnes and 
Yolonda Ross in Welbon's The Taste 
of Dirt. 



March 20C3 I The Independent 15 



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amounts of knowledge. About the 
Producers Academy, Welbon says, "By 
the end, I finally understood what 
PBS wanted and realized that most of 
my ideas for projects weren't that. But, 
the way I work changed— for instance, 
bringing on a senior researcher, Tracye 
Matthews, at the beginning of a proj- 
ect." A year later, she says, an idea 
finally came out of the experience that 
she hopes will be on PBS. 

In LA, she says, "I learned that one 
of the keys to success for women in 
the film industry is being somehow 
affiliated with AFI. It's an extremely 
supportive network. Julie Dash and 
Neema Barnette will tell you that AFI 
continues to support you throughout 
your career." Sundance, too, is known 
for providing ongoing support, which 
Welbon experienced in her intensive 
four-day workshop visit to Utah. 

Through this whirlwind workshop 
tour, Welbon may have learned the 
most important lesson in today's indie 
world: flexibility. You can work for 
PBS, Discovery, HBO, and more, if you 
create projects suited to their different 
needs. "Broadcast is still a major goal," 
she says, "that's where you are going to 
reach the most people. I went to film 
school to learn about film. What I've 
come to realize is that I need to learn 
about television." 

This will to learn and master her ter- 
rain makes her an invaluable resource. 
She has a hopping website, www.sis- 
tersincinema.com, and 2003 looks to 
be a banner year as well, with Sisters in 
Cinema premiering at the Pan-African 
Festival on March 2, and Taste of Dirt 
on WTTW, Chicago's PBS station. 
Welbon is also hoping she'll break into 
another media realm— publishing— 
with a book based on the dissertation 
research she did for Sisters in Cinema. In 
the meantime, though, if you need an 
apartment in Chicago, Welbon just 
may be the right woman for you. D 

Cam Mertes is the executive 

director of P. O. V., PBS's premiere 

independent documentary showcase. 



16 The Independent | March 2003 



A Historical Timeline of Feature 
American Women 1 922-2003 - 

1922: A Woman's Error-Written, produced, 
and directed by Tressie Souders. First film 
directed by an African American woman in the 
United States. 

1923: Flames of Wrath- 
Dir./prod. Maria P. Williams 

1967: CMe/fo-Dir./prod. Liz Smith 

1981: Will-D\r. Jessie Maple 

1982: Losing Ground- 

Dir. Kathleen Collins Prettyman 

1989: Twice as Mce-Dir. Jessie Maple 

A Dry White Season-Din Euzhan Palcy 
The first film by a black woman (Palcy's from 
Martinique) to be produced by a major 
Hollywood studio. 

From Rags to Reality (aka Uptown Angel)- 
Dir. Joy Shannon and Joy S'hani Ache 

First feature by an African American woman 
to receive a major home video release. 

Leola: Love Your Mama-Dk. Ruby Oliver 

1990: Trouble I've Seen- 
Dir. Heather Foxworth, M.D. 

The Three Mustakels- 
Dir. Romell Foster-Owens 

1991: Daughters of the Dust-D\r. Julie Dash 

First feature directed by an African American 
woman to receive national theatrical distribution. 

1992: Alma's Rainbow-Dk. Ayoka Chenzira 

Kiss Grandmama Goodbye- 
Dir. Debra Robinson 

1993: The Gifted-D\r. Audrey Lewis 

First sci-fi feature by an African 
American woman. 

1993: Just Another Girl on the IRT- 
Dir. Leslie Harris 

First feature by an African American 
woman to be distributed by a major 
theatrical distributor (Miramax). 

1994: / Like It Like That-D\r. Darnell Martin 
First African American woman to direct a 
film produced by a major Hollywood studio 
(Columbia Pictures). 

1995: Medipaid Queens- 
Dir. Karen Stone, M.D. 

Naked Acts-D\r. Bridgett Davis 

Out of Sync-Dir. Debbie Allen 

The Promised Land-Dk. Monika Harris 

1996: Girlfriends-D\r. Marlies Carruth 

The Watermelon Woman-D\r. Cheryl Dunye 
First African American lesbian feature. 



Films Directed by African 

Compiled by Yvonne Welbon 

1997: Eve's Bayou-D'n. Kasi Lemmons 

Taking in over $14 million at the box office, 
Eve's Bayou was one of the top grossing 
independent films of 1997. 

Black & White & Red All Over- 

Dir. DeMane Davis (and Khari Streeter) 

1998: Down in the De/te-Dir. Maya Angelou 

Drylongso (Ordinary)-Uw. Cauleen Smith 

Wcfe-Dir. Millicent Shelton 

Nandi-Dh. Peggy Hayes 

State of Mind- -Dir. Yvette Plummer 

Let's Talk About Sex-D\r. Troy Beyer 

1999: Compensation- 
Dir. Zeinabu Irene Davis 

Del Otro Lado (The Other Side)- 
Dir. C.A. Griffith 

2000: Gotta Git My Hair Did- 
Dir. Coquie Hughes 

First digital feature by an African American 
woman. First African American woman to 
direct three independent features. 

Love and Basketball- 

Dir. Gina Prince Blythewood 

Top grossing film directed by an African 
American woman, taking in over $25 million 
at the box office. 

2001: The Caveman's Valentine- 
Dir. Kasi Lemmons 

Stranger /ns/de-Dir. Cheryl Dunye 

Prison Song-Dk. Darnell Martin 

30 Years to L/fe-Dir. Vanessa Middleton 

Lift-D\r. DeMane Davis 
(and Khari Streeter) 

2001: Hell's Most Wanted- 
Dir. Coquie Hughes 

All that Jazzin'-Un. Joy Shannon and Joy 
S'hani Ache 

Kali's l//6e— Dir. Shari Carpenter 

All About Vbu-Dir. Christine Swanson 

The Right Girl-Dh. Theresa Brown 

If I Wuz Yo Gyrl-D\r. Coquie Hughes 

Civil Brand-Din Nemma Barnette 

2003: My Baby's Mama- 
Dir. Cheryl Dunye 



To learn more, visit: www.sistersincinema.com, 
or write to ywelbon@sistersincinema.com 



March 2003 I The Independent 17 



Tape-to-Fi In Transfer 



Fi I m-to-Tape Transfer 



You 



shoot 




profile 



Annie Sprinkle 

FROM PORN TO NYC'S MOMA AND EVERYWHERE 

IN BETWEEN 

By Michaela Grey 



y main interest has 

| never been film. It was 

1 never about doing a 

great drama, or great 

action, or anything like that. It's 

always been: How can we really show 

sex in the best way? — Annie Sprinkle 

The inimitable Sprinkle— porn 
star, performance artist, filmmaker, 
photographer, author, erotic guru, 
and all-around metamorphosexual 
(her own term)— has been doing 
just that for thirty years, using 
every possible opportunity to create 
and distribute positive representa- 
tions of sexuality. How on Earth 
did Ellen Steinberg, the shy, chunky 
daughter of staid, suburban Jewish 
intellectuals, transform herself into 
exhibitionistic, glamorous alter-ego 
Annie Sprinkle, whose art/sex films 
have screened at the museums and 
galleries around the world, includ- 
ing the Museum of Modern Art? 

After a stint at a massage parlor, 
eighteen-year-old Steinberg became 
the mistress of Deep Throat director 
Gerard Damiano, who, she says, 
"was probably my biggest influ- 
ence, porn film-wise. He was defi- 
nitely an artist. He encouraged me 
to make things personal and inti- 
mate ... to tell stories that were real." 
Her subsequent apprenticeship on a 
low-budget porn set made her wonder 
if she wouldn't have more fun on the 
other side of the camera; Sprinkle 
went on to appear in literally hun- 
dreds of porn films in the seventies 
and eighties. While her life's work may 
not have been clearly defined at that 
early stage, she was definitely doing 



Annie Sprinkle: performer, filmmaker, 
academic, author. 



what she loved and felt a real sense of 
purpose in it all. "Actually," she 
explains, "when I started doing porn 
in 1973— it seems like another millen- 
nium ago— just to do porn at all back 
then was so stigmatized, no one knew 
if it was even legal! It's hard to imag- 




ine now, but doing those films really 
felt like it meant something. Just say- 
ing 'yeah, pussies are beautiful' was 
really shocking." Sprinkle pushed the 
envelope even as a porn star— of her 
groundbreaking 1981 Film Deep Inside 
Annie Sprinkle, in which she talked 
directly to the camera, she says, "That 
just wasn't done, but I really wanted 
to involve the viewer— although it was 
still formula porn." 

Her 1985 appearance in the 
Franklin Furnace performance Deep 



Inside Porn Stars opened a new realm of 
possibility for Sprinkle's work. Thus 
began her revolutionary "crossing of 
that bridge between art and porn" as 
Sprinkle's films were shown at the 
Museum of Modern Art and the New 
Museum of Contemporary Art (1990). 
She also memorialized her outra- 
geously popular postfeminist work- 
shop in the classic 1992 video Sluts and 
Goddesses. Birthing such concepts as 
edu-porn (through a female genital 
massage video co-directed by Joe 
Kramer) and docu-porn (in the 1990 
transsexual-themed Linda, Les, & 
Annie), Sprinkle's profound influ- 
ence on mainstream and alternative 
porn alike— to say nothing of 
America's sex-positivity quotient 
overall— is well documented. 

Recently, Sprinkle co-created Art 
of the Loop (2001), an eighteen- 
minute documentary of porn films 
from the 1950's through the 1980's, 
with the fabulous Scarlot Harlot 
and Jeff Fletcher. She believes that 
this work, now making the film fes- 
tival rounds, is especially important: 
"The history of porn is so interest- 
ing. I really hope that someone will 
start a refrigerated archive to pro- 
tect the old porn loop history. All 
the films are disintegrating, and 
nobody has protected them. A lot of 
people who had collections die, and 
the wife throws the films in the 
garbage or burns them." Although 
there has been some academic inter- 
est in this project, it remains in the 
realm of the stigmatized, champi- 
oned only by Sprinkle and a handful 
of other sexual visionaries. Sprinkle 
also hopes that an especially anal 
individual will take on the responsi- 
bility of starting a distribution busi- 
ness for all the creative alternative 
porn that's currently being produced. 
Sprinkle's most recent personal 
film, 1998's Herstory of Porn, is a 
Mystery Science Theater-style commen- 
tary on her many years in the industry. 
She wrote, directed, and edited 
this one (with a little help from 



March 20C3 j The Independent 19 




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Carol Leigh, a.k.a. Scarlot Harlot). 
"Whenever I have had a chance to 
direct, there's always been a great vibe 
on the set. 1 always try to make every- 
body happy and comfortable. I pay 
people a million compliments and 
thank them for every little thing and 
try to create a good atmosphere, so 
everybody's usually very happy. It's 
very important to have good food on 
the set. On any porn movie set, it's the 
food that people remember, and if it 
was good, they feel like they were 
taken care of. I also think it's impor- 
tant to pay people well when you can. 
I mean, if it's something experimental, 
that's maybe different. When I made 
Herstory of Porn, which is my porn 
diary, I had to go into the studio and 
film on Chromakey. I had about fif- 
teen people, and boy, did I spend a for- 
tune on food. But it was worth it- 
people really appreciated it! Some of 
them were working for very little 
money." Of that experience, she 
learned "never to star in films you 
direct, produce, and pay for. My acting 
really suffered. I was so stressed out, 
and it got really expensive. It was just 
too much!" 

Sprinkle has also moved from pos- 
ing for porn photography to making 
her own; her work has appeared in vir- 
tually every mainstream and alterna- 
tive sexually-themed publication 
imaginable, and in spite of a devastat- 
ing 1999 houseboat fire in which her 
beloved cats died and most of her 
archives were destroyed, she still has 
"articles and piles of photos" from 
this phase of her work. But her oeuvre 
is not confined to the visual; Sprinkle 
is a published author with several 
titles under her belt, who is often 
asked to speak to academic audiences, 
and quoted in "ivory-tower" texts. All 
of this is part of the larger plan for 
Sprinkle. "I went out to colleges and 
met people. People got to meet me 
and see what a real prostitute/porn 



Performer/artist Annie Sprinkle on the 
streets of New York. 




star was like, in places they didn't nec- 
essarily expect. . . . My books reach stu- 
dents. . . . That book Angry Women 
went to many colleges as a textbook." 
The academic environment surely had 
its own influence on Sprinkle: "I did 
just get my Ph.D. at the Institute for 
Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, 
which makes me the first porn star to 
get a Ph.D.!" 

She's currently working on a docu- 
mentary about orgasms, and asserts: 
"The best is definitely yet to come, 
that's all I can say! I've just gotten 
started. I figure I've got thirty years 
left before I stop making porn." She 
also notes, "The sex I'm having now is 
so far beyond anything I've ever done 
on film yet. It's so ironic— as people 
get older they become so much more 
vibrant and erotic and skilled as 
lovers, but society values only youth 
and inexperience." 

Should you wish to follow in the 
footsteps of this sexual guru, Sprinkle 
wholeheartedly encourages you, with 
one caveat: "If you don't like the porn 
that's out there, make porn that you 
do like— but you should know that it's 
harder than it looks!" O 

Sprinkle's website is www.anniesprinkle.org. 
Visitors can purchase her videos and books, 
and sign up for her workshops there. 

Michaela Grey has been a preschool teacher, 

peepshow dancer, body piercing instructor, and 

assoc. editor of the piercing-themed mag PFIQ. 

She is currently an NYU graduate student. 



20 The Independent | March 2003 



field report 



IOWA 



FIELDS OF OPPORTUNITIES 
By Kay Frances Scott 



Iowa is best known for 
early political caucuses, Old 
Settlers Picnics, the fictional 
River City of Meredith 
Wilson's musical Music Man, Kevin 
Costner's Field of Dreams, and 
although not quite as famous, the 
corncam website. Yes, corncam. At 
www.IowaFarmer.com/corncam/corn. 
html you can literally sit back and 
watch the corn grow, with updates 
every fifteen minutes. 

But Iowa's fields of opportunities 
are both vast and varied for media- 
makers of all types. 

Oscar Micheaux 

In 1917, celebrated African American 
pioneer, novelist, and filmmaker 
Oscar Micheaux wrote, published, 
and filmed his novel, The Homesteader, 
in Sioux City, having moved there 
after losing his land in South Dakota, 
due to a drought. Lincoln, Nebraska, 
filmmakers George and Noble 
Johnson wanted to film Micheaux's 
novel but refused to let him direct it. 
So, like many present-day writers with 
dreams of directing, Micheaux reject- 
ed their offer and instead expanded 
his Western Book and Supply 
Company to the Micheaux Film and 
Book Company, with offices in Sioux 
City and Chicago. He directed the 
film, financing the venture by selling 
stock in the company to white farmers 
and small businesses around Sioux 
City. Eight reels long, it is probably 
the first full-length feature film writ- 
ten, produced, and directed by an 
African American. Over his thirty-year 
career as a writer/director/producer, 
Micheaux became one of the leading 
creators of films about, by, and mar- 



Oscar Micheaux, considered the first 
African American filmmaker. 



keted to African Americans. These 
films, made outside of the Hollywood 
system, were known as "race films," 
but today, scholars and film enthusi- 
asts refer to them as "separate cine- 
ma." Although not held in Iowa, the 
annual Oscar Micheaux Festival in 
Gregory, South Dakota, celebrates the 




work of this important filmmaker, 
whose career began in Iowa. 

The eighth annual Micheaux Festival will be 
held August 6-10, 2003, in Gregory, South 
Dakota. For more, call (605) 835-2002; 
www.micheauxfoundation.com. 



Iowa Scriptwriters 
Alliance (ISA) 

This six-year-old organization draws 
members from across the state— writ- 
ers who meet eight to ten times a year 
for support, workshops, and readings 
of work-in-progress. Last autumn, 
they teamed up with the Iowa 
Motion Picture Association to pro- 
duce three five-minute film scripts by 
ISA members which were then shot 
in one day, then edited and viewed in 
one day— January 8, 2003. In a recent 



interview Dave DeBord, current pres- 
ident and founding membersh 
described the organization, its mem- 
bers and founding. 

DD: There were probably five or 
six of us writers who knew each 
other from various other writing 
organizations. An awful lot of writ- 
ing groups come and go. We saw a 
need for one that would fit 
scriptwriters two ways: one for the- 
ater writers, the other for writers of 
screenplays. Which is why we named 
it Scriptwriters Alliance. We have a 
wide range of people involved, Max 
Collins [Road to Perdition] for exam- 
ple. We have people just starting and 
everybody in between. 

We [offer] workshops and seminars. 
We've had a Hollywood agent in to 
speak to us. We also put together six 
original one-act plays at Living 
History Farm [spring 2002]. We said 
[to the membership] write something 
that can be done in a barn— PG, low 
number of characters. We got it down 
to six [one-acts] and put up a per- 
formance. You don't have to be in 
Hollywood to write scripts. 

Membership is $50 a year. For more 
info, e-mail David DeBord at 
downtowndave@att.net. 

The People in the Pictures 

Based on the work of Iowa agricultur- 
al photographer Pete Wettach, The 
People in the Pictures is a one-hour doc- 
umentary about farm life in Iowa 
from the 1920's through the 1960's— a 
way of life vanishing with the family 
farm, much like the mom-and-pop 
stores of large cities that vanished 
with gentrification and the introduc- 
tion of chain stores. The documentary 
is an evocative blend of conversation, 
commentary, and music, still photos 
and interviews which springboard 
from a collection of Wettach's work, 
compiled by Leslie Loveless, called 
A Bountiful Harvest. 

An editor at the University of Iowa 
Institute for Rural and Environmen- 
tal Health, Loveless was cleaning out 



March 2003 i The Independent 21 



her now office in 1 C ) C )S when she 
came across a box of photos with 
the name "A.M. (Tore') Wettach, 
Agricultural Photographer, Mount 

Pleasant, Iowa," on the back. "[She] 
absolutely fell in love with them," 
says Laurel Bower, who produced The 
People in the Pictures. 

KS: How did The People in the 
Pictures evolve? 

LB: Leslie Loveless sot things 
rolling. Because of her, really, the pic- 
tures are seen bv people. When she 
saw the name on the back [of the box], 
she called Mount Pleasant and found 



perfect way to do something on agri- 
culture in the state. I worked on this 
for six months. 

Sometimes I drove by myself to the 
communities because I figured I'd run 
into someone who knew them [the 
people in the photos] . . . and a lot of 
times I went to where, you know, older 
men kind of met for coffee. My grand- 
pa used to do that. So I knew it would 
be a good place to find them when 
they're comfortable and they'd start 
telling stories. 

The People in the Pictures was pro- 
duced by Iowa Public Television 




his son, Bob. He said, "If you like the 
pictures, I have thousands more." 
[Actually, somewhere between fifty 
and one hundred thousand.] She went 
to Mount Pleasant with Mary 
Bennett, an archivist from the Iowa 
Historical Society, and they went into 
Bob Wettach's basement, where there 
were boxes and boxes of pictures. Bob 
Wettach pretty much donated all the 
pictures to the Historical Society in 
Iowa City so people can see them and 
get prints. 

When I saw them, I knew this was a 



Network (IPTV) and first aired during 
their autumn 2002 pledge drive. The 
station, which originated in 1967, is 
open to partnerships and seeks strong 
locally based projects that they can 
take statewide. 

For more info: Iowa Public Television, online at 
www.iptv.org. 

Hardacre Film Festival 

The brain-child of union set dresser 
Troy Peters (Twister, Bridges of Madison 
County, and 8 Mile), who lives in 
Tipton, Iowa, and some friends, the 



Hardacre Film Festival bes;an with true 
Iowa pioneer spirit, "mainly because 
nobody else was doing it," says Stuart 
Werlino;, one of the festival's founders 
and an attorney in Tipton. 

The Hardacre Theater, an art deco 
theater in the small town northeast of 
Iowa City, has been in continuous 
operation since 1917. The owner, a 
high school classmate of Werling's 
donates the theater to festival for one 
the weekend each year. 

SW: [A few years ago] when 
California was having its energy crisis 
. . . and President Bush was pushing 
[corn-based] ethanol, Governor Grey 
Davis of California, the Democrat, 
said "We're not buying Midwest 
ethanol because we don't like it," there 
was this big to-do [here]. And a couple 
of the [local] radio stations picked up 
on the affront from the governor of 
California and said, "Let's boycott 
Hollywood. Don't go to Hollywood 
movies! Go to the Hardacre Film 
Festival and watch the independents 
instead." We got front-page coverage 
all over the place. 

KS: Does the Hardacre Festival 
have a theme? 

SW: We tend to get a theme 
through serendipity. Last year it was 
international [films from Israel, 
France, Poland] ... we had ninety sub- 
missions. The year before, it was ani- 
mation. But we'll accept all films. We 
really want to emphasize the work of 
Iowa artists, as actors, but better yet as 
writers and directors. We really try to 
recruit them and are not doing as well 
as we want. We're disappointed in our 
ability to get Iowa product. 

[Story] is the one thing that 
draws us to independent film, 
'cause it ain't about the money 
honey, cause there isn't any money. 
It's just about the story. 'Cause they 
got a story they want to tell. We 
see some wonderful stories . . . and 

This farmer with his team of horses 
circa late 1 930's is one of many prints 
featured in Laurel Bower's The People 
in the Pictures. 



22 The Independent | March 2003 



that's what we like. 

KS: Are you getting in your licks as 
an intellectual property attorney? 

SW: No. Intellectual property 
rights are not something that is dis- 
cussed in small town Iowa. 

2003 Hardacre Film Festival: 
August 1 and 2, 2003. For more info: 
www.hardacrefilmfestival.com or 
Director@hardacrefilmestival.com; 
tel: (563) 886-2175; fax: 886-2213 

Vaudeville Mews 

A combination full bar/live theater/art 
house cinema located in Des Moines. 

Contact J. Serpento at (51 5) 244-1 231 or 
K. Busbee at 221-2517 for more info. 

Iowa Motion Picture Association 

This organization sponsors an Annual 
Film Award Program and workshop. 
The awards feature forty-four cate- 
gories, including two for student proj- 
ects. The next one event will be on 
April 19, 2003, at the Hotel Savory, 
Des Moines. 



Iowa Motion Picture Association, Max Allen 
Collins, 8345 University Blvd., Suite F-1, Des 
Moines, IA 50325; tel: (515) 440-1040 
www.showcaseiowa.com (soon: www.impa.tv). 



ties in the state. It's a great place to go 
for information and resources. 
For more info: www.state.ia.us/film. 






-''"* 



IlaPfli 



■LCOME ! 



Iowa Film Office 

This state-run office began in 1984 as 
part of the Iowa Department of 
Economic Development. According to 
Steve Schott, a film consultant cur- 
rently working there, "There are prob- 
ably over a hundred companies that 
make their living in the film, televi- 
sion, and audio business here." Its 
website has a downloadable produc- 
tion guide that lists appropriate facili- 



Thaw Film Festival 

An experimental film and video festi- 
val that takes place April 10-12 
and exhibits new work by emerging 
media artists. 



For more info: Thaw '03, Institute of Cinema and 
Culture, University of Iowa, Iowa City; tel: (319) 
335-1348; visit www.uiowa.edu/~thawD 



Kay Frances Scott is a writer and actress 
currently living in Iowa. 



American University 

School of Communication 

a leader in educating professionals for careers in communication 




Visual Media Programs 



Undergraduate 

• Visual Media (BA) 

• Multimedia Design & Development (BS) 



Graduate 

• Film and Video (MA) 

• Producing for Film and Video (MA) 

• Film and Electronic Media (MFA) 



m 

AMERICAN 
UNIVERSITY 



The school also offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs 
in journalism and public communication. 

For more information about AU School of Communication undergraduate and graduate 
programs visit <www.soc.american.edu>, or email <communication@american.edu>. 



eeo/aa 



March 2003 | The Independent 23 



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doc doctor 



Ask the 
Documentary Doctor 

ASSERTING A FEMININE VOICE IN FILM 
By Fernanda Rossi 




Dear Doc 
Doctor: 
My film deals 
with a female 
issue and I 
would like 
the structure 
to be consis- 
tent with the topic. Is there such a thing 
as a "feminine storytelling structure"? 
Structure in storytelling is, among 
other things, a manifestation of our 
thinking pattern and language. And 
there is much discussion of which 
came first, the egg-thinking-pattern 
or the chicken-language. Or is it that 
language creates the thinking pat- 
tern? Regardless of the order, with so 
many languages, landscapes, and life 
experiences to shape our points of 
view, we can expect many types of 
structure across cultures and time. 
When it comes to gender, the same 
theory could be applied. Different 
point of view, different structure. 

The "three-act structure" explained 
by Aristotle in The Poetics as well as the 
principles of the "Hero's Journey" 
developed by Joseph Campbell— and 
adapted to the film business by 
Christopher Vogler— have been 
accused of being masculine theories 
that reinforce their dominance. In his 
book The Writer's Journey, Vogler 
posits, "Men's journeys may be in 
some sense more linear, proceeding 
from one outward goal to the next, 
while women's journeys may spin or 
spiral inward and outward. . . . 
Another possible model might be a 
series of concentric rings, with the 
woman making a journey inward 
towards the center and then expand- 
ing out again." 



But I would warn you to be careful 
of over-thinking; too much intellectu- 
al speculation early in the creative 
process can be counterproductive. 
Your instincts are good, though; you 
want the structure to be consistent 
with the topic, and you know it's not 
the traditional three-act structure. A 
spiral or concentric rings structure 



voice that is right for you and your 
film. Going against a formulaic 
approach will take you longer, but it 
will be well worth the journey, the 
Heroine's Journey. 

Dear Doc Doctor: 

I'm making a documentary on a 
woman's issue, and many people 
say that I, being a woman, should be 
part of the film. How do I insert 
myself without making the film all 
about me? 

Pointing the camera at the mirror can 
bring more reflections than we can 
handle. When the maker is the topic 
of the film or at least one of its story- 
lines, balance and detachment can 



The biggest challenge is to find the 
right structure and your own voice in a 
culture where the three-act structure has 
prevailed for over two thousand years. 



might not be appropriate for your 
film either, no matter how feminine 
the topic. The biggest challenge then 
is to find the right structure and your 
own voice in a culture where the three- 
act structure has prevailed for over 
two thousand years. 

Most likely the first cut will look 
very much like what you are trying to 
avoid. Let it be that. There is value in 
that first "corny" and "obvious" 
rough cut. Most writers know that if 
they repress the "commonplace" and 
"overused" phrases in a first draft, 
this will come back to haunt them in 
later versions. Just as good writing is 
rewriting, good editing is re-editing. 
Allow your first cut to be just that: 
the first. 

Having too many expectations or 
restrictions at this stage can create an 
insurmountable creative block. If you 
let a traditional structure materialize, 
keeping in mind that it will evolve, 
you will be on your way to finding the 



become a real challenge. Before we 
dwell on the how to add you, let's see 
if it's truly needed. 

Choosing to make a personal film 
is different than making a film per- 
sonal. If your documentary really 
called for your involvement in front 
of the camera, then you would have 
noticed it early on. Unless, of course, 
you knew this all along and resisted 
the idea because of your own issues 
with being part of the film, such as 
revealing personal things for the 
world to see. I would honor whatever 
time you need to come to terms with 
your resistance and take the neces- 
sary steps to include yourself when 
you are ready. 

Another reason you might want to 
put yourself in front of the camera is 
because documentaries about topics 
or things rather than a person can 
stagger or seem to not really grab the 
audience, leaving them a bit cold and 
uninterested. There are obvious 



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exceptions when objects or topics 
have such monumental proportions 
that they are infused with emotion, 
such as September 11 or the 
Holocaust. But for the most part, a 
portrait holds our attention longer 
than a landscape; naturally we care 
more about people than about 
objects or topics. In these cases the 
viewers' reaction is, "We want you!" 
And filmmakers comply because 
what could be easier than adding 
themselves, a person who needs to 
show up to the shoot anyway and 
doesn't need a depiction release. But 
the "We want you" is really saying, 
"We want a person we can relate to." 

If your film is in need of a more per- 
sonal touch to counterbalance the sta- 
tistics and interviews with experts, 
you have many options to choose 
from besides adding yourself. You 
might want to add or extend the inter- 
views with regular people, making 
sure they are different in style than the 
interviews with the experts, should 
you have those. You can also try to 
focus on fewer interviewees and give 
them enough time on screen so we can 
get to know them. 

If after all these considerations you 
still believe you must be in the film, 
then enlist the aid of an editor, even if 
you feel you can't afford it. That extra 
pair of eyes will make sure you are not 
there too much. In my private consul- 
tations, when I discuss the storyline I 
talk about the filmmaker/character 
in the third person. It's a modest 
attempt to help the filmmaker detach 
and understand that the person in 
the film is a part and not all of the 
person in real life. And remember, 
your film will be "you," even if you are 
not in it. D 

Want to ask the Doc Doctor a question for a 
future issue of The Independent? Write to her 
at info@documentarydoctor.com. 

Fernanda Rossi is a filmmaker and 

script/ documentary doctor. She also leads the 

bimonthly Documentary Dialogues discussion 

group offered by AIVF. For more info, visit 

www.documentarydoctor.com 



26 The Independent | March 2003 



site seeing 



The Hybrid Art 
of Marina Zurkow 



By Maya Churi 



In 1999 Marina Zurkow unveiled 
her highly successful animated 
web series Braingirl. The series 
garnered Zurkow a lot of atten- 
tion for her eerily scientific yet humor- 
ous look at girlhood. It has screened at 
numerous festivals around the world, 
including Sundance and Rotterdam, 
and has put Zurkow on the map as 
one of the most creative Flash ani- 
mators around. But Braingirl, with all 
its web-driven and inspired lyricism, 
is the result of a high-velocity colli- 
sion among the myriad of art forms 
that has shaped Zurkow's work, past 
and present. 

In the world of Marina Zurkow, real- 
ity is a place where the subconscious 
lives on the outside of the body and 
where the candy-coated world of film 
and television has been licked down to 
its naked core. And in that world, 
things don't always add up neatly. 

She has taken this reality and creat- 
ed work in multiple art forms (film, 
animation, interactive, wearable) in an 
effort, she points out, "to make things 
manifest, shake them, like Alice did 
the cat, out of latent, implicit slum- 
ber." This shaking allows her audience 
to peer inside their own unconscious 
and makes them think. "The world's 
full of schisms and off-colored humor 
and ambiguities. . . . Many of my char- 
acters seem cute and inviting but 
simultaneously crack holes in that 
happy veneer. My characters are the 
spawn of Prozac-infused petri dishes, 
and they exist as a psychic/neurotic 
form of Tex Avery's 'squash and 
stretch' universe." 

Though she started out as a sculp- 
ture major at the School of Visual Arts 



The eponymous Braingirl, star of 
Zurkow's Flash animation series. 



in New York City, she always felt an 
attraction towards the magical realism 
of the horror film genre. "I had been 
making eerie, mise en scene installa- 
tions out of used set pieces from things 
I found in the dumpsters at Kaufman 
Astoria Studios, like the Jolly Green 
Giant vines and huge lame curtains 
used in The Cotton Club." But when she 
graduated in 1985, "the art scene had 



of web animation, but the introduc- 
tion of Flash changed everything." A 
few years later she conceived, devel- 
oped, and created Braingirl. "I don't 
think I really found my voice until I 
began the animated series Braingirl in 
1999. I felt I'd found a home in the 
characters I developed, in a way that 
nothing else I'd produced provided." 

The character of Braingirl combines 
Zurkow's experience working with 
realities where "things don't add up 
neatly" and her exploration of Flash 
animation. "Braingirl's a mutant-cute 
girl with 'normal' urban teen prob- 
lems. Difference is, she wears her 
insides on the outside, quite literally. 




become too polarized (theory or 
expression, nothing in between)." So 
instead of setting her sites on making a 
living in fine arts she set out to start a 
career in film. 

While working in the art depart- 
ment on low-budget horror films, she 
began making her own short films. 
But after the completion of her ITVS 
funded short Body of Correspondence, 
about an archivist and two dead 
women, she was beginning to get dis- 
couraged. "I was really frustrated with 
the compartmentalization of genre 
and the lack of opportunity and dis- 
tribution. In 1994, I started working 
on the web. I got into primitive forms 



She lives in a world of externalized 
emotion. She's incredibly independ- 
ent, and also rather childlike; utterly 
up-front, and in total denial." 

It was this fusion of personal expe- 
rience and present-day technology 
that put Zurkow on the map. "The 
project was an experiment: I scripted 
as I went, and threw many drafts of 
near-completed episodes out. I 
worked quickly and subconsciously, 
risking nonsense for frisson. I worked 
with my characters until they had 
stuff to say." 

But Zurkow stresses that though 
Braingirl had its moments of 
"microglory" and affirmed her love of 



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the adult cartoon and underground 
comics, it was bittersweet. "I make ani- 
mations for the web because I've expe- 
rienced the distribution magnitude, 
and it's very gratifying. But so is get- 
ting into Sundance. Online can't hold 
a matchstick to Sundance's bonfire." 
In 1999, when Braingirl premiered, the 
web was taking the country, and much 
of the world, by storm. "That was the 
heyday of grand delusions about the 
internet's potential, as if we could 
make uncensored, unrated projects 
and they'd have a life in the legitimate 
world! I just got a call from the 
Sundance Channel, interested in air- 
ing Braingirl, only to get a follow-up e- 
mail the next day that ratings wouldn't 
permit the airing of content like that. I 
was completely unsurprised." 

When asked if she feels like she has 
one foot in the film world and one in 
the web world Zurkow points out that 
she doesn't consider herself part of 
the film world. "I don't make films 
anymore, and both web narrative and 
all animation is ghettoized. I consider 
myself an artist first, an animator sec- 
ond. I want to traffic in delightful, 
provocative ideas in a myriad of 
forms. I would be honored to be a part 
of the film community, but the recep- 
tion's been— with a few exceptions— a 
bit 'I don't get it' about my work. And 
I take issue with that position, 
because I don't compartmentalize art 
according to media." 

But Zurkow is moving ahead full 
force. The Creative Capital founda- 



Zurkow's forthcoming Little NO was 
funded by a grant from Creative Capital. 



tion has awarded her a grant for her 
Flash-animated story Little NO. "Little 
NO is a multilinear animated narra- 
tive that takes place in the psychedelic 
Vietnam War era in New York. Little 
NO is preadolescent and lives with her 
parents, and is far more human-look- 
ing than Braingirl. At its root, I'm 
exploring how Little NO and her fami- 
ly navigate— or don't— interpersonal 
and spiritual boundaries. "Zurkow 
continues, "Little NO will carry for- 
ward some of the aesthetic concerns 
of Braingirl (the use of interface design 
and schematics as part of the narrative 
language), but I'm also taking many 
visual cues from 1960's graphic 
works." In addition to Little NO, she is 
also collaborating on an interactive 
project called PDPal, a "personal map- 
ping project designed for mobile plat- 
forms. It is framed as public art, and 
will be distributed through streetside 
kiosks in New York City." 

No matter what category of art form 
she is exploring, it is the hybrid identi- 
ty of Marina Zurkow that makes her 
work so unique. "My body's floating in 
several worlds that are still rather dis- 
crete: I consider what I do to be pop- 
cultural art making. I am trying to 
develop an art practice that can exist in 
museums and galleries. And I make 
stuff to sell in stores, a digital analog 
crafty hybrid, because I want my 
things to exist off the screens as well as 
on them; I want people to live with and 
wear my odd version of reality." D 

www.thebraingirl.com 
www.o-matic.com 

Maya Cburi is a writer/ filmmaker working on a 
web narrative about a gated Texas community. 



28 The Independent | March 2003 



f under faq 



Women In Film 
Finishing Fund 

Jason Guerrasio interviews Stephanie Austin 



What is the Woman In Film 
Finishing Fund? 

We are the philanthropic outreach 
arm of the Women in Film organiza- 
tion. We do a lot of outreach pro- 
grams that are open to the general 
public, but specifically to the Women 
in Film general membership. The 
fund supports filmmakers who make 
thoughtful and provocative films by 
or about women. It's the only fund of 
its kind in the United States. 

When and why did it start? 

The very first grant was given out in 
1985. The project ended up on PBS's 
Nightline and got an Emmy, so it was a 
really powerful beginning. It was a 
documentary called Men Who Molest: 
Children Who Survive, produced by 
Rachel Lyons. Every year the fund has 
grown. It's very rewarding to see that 
many filmmakers, with this support, 
be able to go on and not only finish 
their projects, but as in the case of 
Rachel Lyons, get an Emmy. The fol- 
lowing year, Lourdes Portillo and 
Susan Munoz did Las Madres de la 
Plaza de Mayo, a documentary on the 
war in Argentina. That got an 
Academy Award nomination. It's real- 
ly gratifying to see that these grants, 
although they're not a huge amount 
of money in some cases, have helped. 

What is the mission of WIF? 

Our goal is to find people who are 
having trouble or need money to actu- 
ally finish their films. We focus on 
people who've finished shooting but 
need some help in postproduction. 



Judy Branfman (right) producer and 
director of the work-in-progress film 
The Land of Orange Groves and Jails, 
with her great-aunt Yetta Stromberg. 



How many projects do you fund on 
average each year? 

It varies. The first year it was one. Last 
year there were eight winners in Los 
Angeles, four in New York, and one 
more in Washington, D.C. Our goal 
this year is to award ten grants. 

What's the fund's application deadline? 

This year it was February 28. We 
actually pushed the date back by 



in which case we would focus on that 
when we do our judging. 

How many submissions do you 
receive annually? 

Last year we got 190 submissions that 
were valid. Student films do not qual- 
ify. We've given 120 cash and in-kind 
grants since the beginning of the pro- 
gram. I expect somewhere in the 
neighborhood of two hundred appli- 
cants this year. 

Does WIF have other calls for proj- 
ects during the year? 

Yes. There's a PSA program that 
has produced many public service 
announcements. 




a month this year. The deadline is 
usually in January. 

What is the average size of a finish- 
ing fund grant? 

We do two different kinds of grants. 
One type is an in-kind grant, where we 
work with people in the labs and edit- 
ing facilities. The other is cash awards, 
which range from $1,500 to $5,000. 
Sometimes an organization will give 
more money and want it to be ear- 
marked for a particular kind of film, 



What types of projects do you seek? 

We have criteria, but it's not limited: 
The project can be on film, video, shot 
on hi-def; it can be a documentary; a 
feature-length project; it can be fic- 
tional, animated, educational, or 
experimental. I had some projects that 
were two-and-a-half hours long and 
some that were ten minutes. So, 
there's no restriction in that regard. 
We do want films that increase the 
employment of women and promote 
equal opportunities for women, ones 



March 2003 | The Independent 29 




TONY BURNS 

Director of Photography 



INDEPENDENT FEATURES 
COMMERCIALS, MUSIC VIDEOS 





that encourage individual creative 
projects by women, enhance the 
media image of women, further the 
professional development of women, 
and influence the prevailing attitudes 
and practices regarding and on behalf 
of women in film. We've had men win 
awards because their project is about 
women, so there's no gender restric- 
tions either. 

Take me through the review process. 

We select ten judges from among the 
trustees on the board, and we get ten 
women volunteers. The application 
requires the filmmaker to deliver a 
package that includes a synopsis and 
who's involved in the project. Then we 
randomly mix them up and give them 
out. That's the prescreening process. 
Each person looks at ten to twenty 
films over a period of a month. Then 
we take the highest scores from all of 
those and the whole board views them 
on a weekend and we do the final 
judging. We inform everyone by May 5 
if they are an award winner. 

Can applicants re-apply if denied? 

Absolutely. What's happened in the 
past is sometimes people, especially 
first-time filmmakers, may not really 
know how long it's going to take them 
to get to post production, so they've 
applied, thinking they're going to be 
in post by the date and it turns out 



that they're not. We encourage them 
to re-apply. 

What types of projects would WIF 
definitely not fund? 

We're a pretty open-minded group 
and we vary in our politics, so every- 
body brings a different sensibility, 
which is great. The only projects we 
can't consider are student projects. 

How do you prefer a filmmaker to 
submit a project to you? 

We have an application that has a 
complete overview of what to do. Log 
onto www.wif.org and click "founda- 
tion" for the application. 

Are their any restrictions for applying? 

We always give points for creativity, so 
any way the filmmaker feels is the 
most effective way to present their 
project, we're all for it. We only ask 
that they be on videotape, because not 
everyone has the capabilities to make 
a DVD. It just makes it easier for us. 
Other than that, anything they want 
to supply in addition to these require- 
ments is fine. 



Above: The Rev. Michael Cobbler and 
Anita C. Hill celebrate her ordination, 
which broke anti-gay church rules, in 
THIS obedience. Facing Page: Larry 
Selman, subject of the documentary The 
Collector of Bedford Street, shares a 
lightheaded moment with director Alice 
Elliot. 



30 The Inder ndent | March 2003 



What has been the distribution/exhi- 
bition path of past projects? 

Some aired on PBS, some on cable, 
some were theatrical releases, and 
many have gone on the festival circuit. 

What's the most common mistake a 
filmmaker makes when they apply 
to you? 

They don't read the application. We 
have gotten a lot of projects through 




the years that are not far enough 
down the road [to need finishing 
funds]. Last year, I got some films 
that were just presentations, not 
films, so that's something to clarify; 
we do not want to be involved in the 
development of projects. That's not 
our focus. We've chosen to support 
filmmakers in the final stages. There 
are many of us here who are skilled in 
that area and are able to assist the 
filmmakers. Sometimes we've sat 
with them and explained what the 
process is. We take a pretty active part 
in our grants in-kind, working with 
the filmmakers and the grantors, 
because the one tricky thing with 
grants in-kind is they have to be done 
when the facilities themselves can 
supply the services. It can't be in the 
height of pilot season, when it's a 
mad house. That's what some film- 
makers don't understand, how 
rewarding the services they get in- 
kind really are. If you compare it to 
what you'd have to pay to do it on 
your own, it's unachievable. D 

Jason Guerrasio is a staff writer for 
The Independent. 



Women In Film Foundation Film Finishing Fund 

8857 West Olympic Blvd., Suite 20, Beverly Hills, CA 90211 
(310) 657-5144 • www.wif.org 

Staff: Stephanie Austin, chairperson • Judee Flick, co-chairperson 
• Mariana Olofsson, foundation coordinator 



2002 Winners: 
Los Angeles 

Survivors of Gun Violence: Families 
Living with Loss, dir. Lisa Davis 

Home of the Brave, 
dir. Paola Diflorio 

Showbiz is My Life, 
dir. Ayr Robinson 

The Internet Whore, dir. Inga Stanlun 

The Land of Orange Groves and 
Jails, dir. Judy Branfman 

Inside Out: Stories of Bulimia, 
dir. Michelle Blair 

Girl Trouble, dir. Lexi Leban 



New York 

The Collector of Bedford Street, 
dir. Alice Elliott 

Untitled, dir. Sarah Hanssen and 
Denise Kasell 

Casualties of Freedom, 
dir. Jamila Paksima 

Women On Wall Street, 
dir. Scott S. Johnson 



Washington, D.C. 

Hitting the Right Chord, 
dir. Lynda Allen 



Everything else 
is pure fiction.™ 

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March 2003 | The Independent 31 



Will independent publications survive? 

We need your help to 
save freedom of thought. 



Independent thought is what 
makes America great. And it's the 
job of the U.S. Postal Service to 
deliver the independent newspapers 
and magazines you want. 

But big commercial magazines 
have highjacked the special 
magazine mailing rate, created by 
Benjamin Franklin, to keep mailing 
costs low for themselves. 

Meanwhile, the costs of mailing 
independent magazines like this 
one have climbed at double digit 




Susan B. Anthony helped win women the right 
to vote with her magazine, The Revolution. 



rates and threaten the survival of many publications. 

That's why this publication and the Independent Press Association 
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festival circuit 



Sundance Sleepers 

LESSER-KNOWN GEMS AT SUNDANCE 2003 
By Jacque Lynn Schiller 



S 



now (and swag) was hard to 
find this year in Park City, 
and the same could be said 
for many of the films 
screening in noncompetition programs. 
Granted, most of the buzz always cen- 
ters around high-dollar acquisitions 
and star sightings, with "must see" rec- 
ommendations quickly falling in (safe) 
competition fiction and doc categories, 
but where were the sleepers? 

For many at Sundance, there 
seems to be an unspoken consensus 
that if a work isn't up for accolades, 
it probably isn't worth the two hours 
sitting in an uncomfortable chair. 
This is an unfortunate misinterpreta- 
tion, particularly since the qualities 
that determine which section of the 
catalog a particular work is assigned 
to is anybody's guess. Raising Victor 
Vargas and Irreversible axe just two 
titles unquestionably deserving of 
more consideration than being rele- 
gated to "sidebar" status. 

Not one to follow the crowd, I 
embarked on my own butt-numbing 
quest to see as many of the films as 
possible that wouldn't pass before the 
judges' eyes. The Frontier, American 
Spectrum (actually eligible for the 
Audience Award this year), American 
Showcase, and Native Forum lineups 
offered an impressive glimpse at new 
directors to watch, a taste of what the 
vets have been up to, and some of the 
most innovative storytelling seen at 
the festival this year. 

Frontier 

As the name implies, the films in this 
section break new cinematic ground, 



Victor Rasuk as Victor Vargas and 
Judy Marte as Judy Ramirez in Peter 
Sollett's film Raising Victor Vargas. 



whether by eschewing linear struc- 
ture, or employing remarkably cre- 
ative camera work or inventive projec- 
tion schemes. More than any other 
section, it's clear why these films are 
listed under the Frontier label, 
although World Cinema also played 



always been the locus of aesthetic 
innovation, and it will certainly con- 
tinue to be." 

This year, Field Studies #3, by silt 
(Keith Evans, Christian Farrell, and 
Jeff Warrin), brought a whole new 
dimension to the filmgoing experi- 
ence. The performance featured a tent 
full of portable screens and multiple 
projections that were constantly 
manipulated and moved around to 
create a spatial, organic environment 
perfect for enhancing the natural sub- 
ject matter of the work. 




host to some unusual films, includ- 
ing the triple split-screen AKA, by 
Duncan Roy. 

This is the section of the festival 
where Sundance throws its weight and 
glamour behind riskier work. Caroline 
Libresco, a festival programmer, 
explains: "Necessity is the mother of 
invention; in other words, there are 
aesthetic discoveries to be made when 
budgets and time are tight. Certainly 
digital filmmaking is one area where 
we see myriad possibility for new ways 
of storytelling. Independent film has 



Set in a slightly warmer local, the 
visually dazzling 35mm At Breath of 
First Wind, by Franco Piavoli, takes 
place during a quiet summer day in 
the Italian countryside. Piavoli brings 
a lyrical beauty to the most simple of 
events: workers in a field, a wife 
going about her chores in silent con- 
templation. As the "story" unfolds, 
a thought-provoking question is 
roused: Can leisure be excruciating 
while the end of the workday exhila- 
rating? It's all a matter of perspective 
which Piavoli provides with breath- 



March 2003 I The Independent 33 



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caking clarity. 

Popular literature these days 
abounds with eccentric characters 
brimming with obscure knowledge 
and Matthew Barney's Cremaster saga 
(a five-part epic) has been tying 
together random trivia since 1994. 
Cremaster 3, the last of the out-of- 
order releases, elevates what could eas- 
ily have become high camp in less 
capable hands to high art. We can 
thank the programmers for recogniz- 
ing the integrity here, and not imme- 



some when it came to visceral experi- 
ence. From the opening credits, which 
were written backward and spill off 
the screen's edges with pounding, 
intense sound design, to the first dis- 
orienting frame of the actual feature, 
the audience feels literally pulled into 
chaos. The whole construction of the 
film plays out in reverse, so the 
crushing opening scenes only serve 
to make the picture's ending (the 
actual beginning to the tale) all the 
more heartbreaking. 




m *&&! m.^ 



t- 



diately banishing it to the nether 
regions of the Midnight Showings, 
where wonderful, plucky work often 
gets preempted by exhaustion and 
party invitations. 

Included in this group is a doc that 
would have held its own in several cate- 
gories. An Injury to One, by Travis 
Wilkerson, is a stringent account of the 
capitalist highs and class struggle lows 
experienced in the copper mining town 
of Butte, Montana. Unlike Michael 
Moore's invasive camera-mugging 
tirades against worker exploitation, 
Wilkerson delivers an end result that 
actually helps its subject's historical 
relevance and sense of pride. 

And the controversy of Cannes 
finally arrived in the US. I have to say 
this one is still with me. Irreversible, 
Gaspar Noe's devastating meditation 
on love, loss, and the philosophical 
nature of time, was every bit as 
uncomfortable as I expected and then 



American Spectrum 

Miguel Arteta's Star Maps, Lisa 
Krueger's Manny and Lo, and Bill 
Condon's Gods and Monsters are just a 
few of the spectacular films spooled 
in past Spectrum lineups. This year's 
fare offered knockouts of its own. 
"This diverse group of films showcas- 
es the thriving creative spirit and the 
range of images and ideas in 
American independent cinema," pro- 
claims the catalog. 

Since Sundance requires competi- 
tion films to be American premieres, 
American Spectrum allows Sundance 
to accentuate dramatic and documen- 
tary works by some of the country's 
most promising new independent 
filmmakers that have already screened 
at another festival. This year's winner 
of the documentary Excellence in 
Cinematography Award, Steve James's 
Stevie, squeaked into competition 
because it had only screened at 



34 The Independent | March 2003 



Toronto and not in the US. Civil Brand 
director Neema Barnette explains: "I 
was told that because my film had 
won the ABFF Blockbuster Award and 
the Urbanworld Audience Award, it 
was not a US premiere and didn't 
qualify for competition. But because 
it dealt with an American issue, it 
would fit into the Spectrum division." 

"The program seemed to have a 
cross section of films about common 
people and their struggle to survive 
within modern society," continues 
Barnette, whose surprising story 
sheds light on the "new plantation" 
workplace found inside the privately 
owned prison system. A group of 
female inmates rise up and protest 
their mistreatment and gain empow- 
erment in the process. Lion's Gate 
wisely picked up the film for (not so 
wisely) limited theatrical distribution. 

One of the unique qualities of the 
American Spectrum program is that 
documentaries and works of fiction are 
under the same heading, which allows 
programmers to place Civil Brand next 
to another compelling piece examining 
just how badly the American social sys- 
tem is failing, Jennifer Dworkin's docu- 
mentary Love and Diane. The doc 
follows a former crack addict mother 
reunited with her aggrieved daughter, 
who has spent too many years floun- 
dering in foster care homes and is now 
on the verge of repeating her mother's 
past mistakes. At 154 minutes, the 
screaming matches leave you exhaust- 
ed and there's a quicksand feeling that 
the family will never struggle free of the 
sad cycle of unemployment, welfare, 
and unplanned pregnancies. But there 
is a poignant, honest balance achieved 
between tenuous human relations and 
the tenacity of human spirit. 

Into this rather grueling mix of 
American cultural examination, Mark 
Illsley of Happy, Texas fame, brought 
some welcome comic relief with his 



Facing Page: An image from silt's Field 
Studies #3. Above: Joaquin Phoenix in 
Gregor Jordan's satire, Buffalo Soldiers. 




light drama, Bookies. Nick Stahl, 
Johnny Galecki, and Lukas Haas por- 
tray three college buddies whose 
small-time dalliance with crime leads 
to big-time trouble when their busi- 
ness encroaches on Mafia territory. A 
tight script and believable cast sweep 
you up in its frivolity. And The Boys of 
2nd Street Park, a documentary reunit- 
ing Brighton Beach boys of the 1950's, 
is a solid, straightforward effort by 
directors Dan Klores and Ron Berger. 

American Showcase 

According to the official Sundance 
catalog, "As the American independ- 
ent film landscape matures, filmmak- 
ers have the opportunity to collabo- 
rate creatively at new levels. A non- 
competitive program, American 
Showcase presents projects that bring 
together established talents and spot- 
lights films from the country's most 
talented independent veterans." 

Sounds good on paper, yet here is 
where first-time feature director Peter 
Sollett shows up with a remarkable 
cast of unknowns in Raising Victor 
Vargas. Normal, by Jane Anderson 
(Emmy winner for The Positively True 
Adventures of the Alleged Texas 
Cheerleader-Murdering Mom and writer 
of How to Make an American Quilt), 
adapted from her stunning play 



Looking for Normal and starring Jessica 
Lange, was consigned to this program 
as well. Notice any incongruity? 

One "seasoned" filmmaker making a 
convincing appearance in the Showcase 
slate was Lisa Cholodenko, winner of the 
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for High 
Art at Sundance 1998. Her sophomore 
effort, Laurel Canyon, delivers another 
intimate drama, this time with dark 
comedic undertones and standout per- 
formances by Frances McDormand, 
Christian Bale, and Kate Beckinsale. All 
the sex, betrayal, and deplorable behav- 
ior one expects of Hollywood plays out 
sans the typical Hollywood ending. As in 
High Art, Cholodenko skillfully and 
unapologeticly explores the repulsion 
and temptations created when disparate 
lifestyles meet. (See page 38.) 

Matt Dillon and Salma Hayek made 
their director's bows with City of Ghosts 
and The Maldonado Miracle, respective- 
ly. While they were not the strongest 
showings in the field, you've got to 
wonder if they got thrown into the 
American Showcase based on acting 
experience rather than filmmaking 
skills, since they're in a category pur- 
portedly recognizing vets. 

To some filmgoers, these star proj- 
ects raised suspicion as to viability 
and "indie cred" of the work. This 
argument falls flat, however, when 



March 2003 | The Independent 35 



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you look at the Dramatic 
Competition field, littered with stars 
such as William H. Macy (The Cooler), 
Katie Holmes (Pieces of April, UA's $3.5 
million dollar baby), and Seth Green 
(Party Monster). Exactly because of the 
star names attached, you can expect to 
see all of these films soon in a theater 
near you. Keep your fingers crossed 
that Raising Victor Vargas, which is 
opening in New York in March, will be 
rewarded the same nation-wide fate. 
"We had no stars to be considered a 
premiere and had screened at too 
many festivals to be in competition," 
comments the film's representive RJ 
Millard. "Regardless of what people 
say about the stars attending the festi- 
val, it's still a great showcase for cine- 
ma. We had a completely unknown 
cast walking up and down Main Street 
and being stopped every 10 feet to 
have their photo taken." 

In Sollett's follow-up to his 2000 
Sundance and Cannes winning short 
Five Feet High and Rising, he deftly cap- 
tures the innocence of first love and 
subsequently the pains of growing up. 
Victor, played with sweet naturalness 
by newcomer Victor Rasuk, is the 
young man of the house, grappling 
with his emerging sexuality, responsi- 
bilities to his dear but off-center 
grandmother, and his evolving rela- 
tionship with his younger siblings. 
Sollett shows a masterful ear for dia- 
logue, and the understated, unaffect- 
ed performances of the young cast 
draw you in to the somewhat simple 
tale set in New York City's Lower East 
Side. Victor is endearing with his 
pubescent posturing, and you can't 
help rooting for him despite the 
machismo. The film never descends 
into some sober coming-of-age story; 
there are always a couple of laughs, 
not at the expense of the teens, but 
with the tender knowledge that we've 
all traversed the same territory. 

And finally, the black sheep of the 
family: Buffalo Soldiers. Why is this film 
still making the festival circuit? 
Miramax picked up Gregor Jordan's 



36 The Independent | March 2003 




wicked satire about the Cold War 
black market of consumer goods way 
back in September 2001. The film was 
promptly shelved. While it was a treat 
to finally see it on the big screen, I 
don't understand why it's not released 
for distribution already. Hopefully 
this second round of warm reception 
will finally give it the momentum that 
will land it at the box office. As a side 
note, one of the more exciting 
moments of Sundance took place dur- 
ing a Q&A session for Soldiers. A 
woman chunked a bottle of water at 
the stage, protesting the film as anti- 
American. Now that gets the press to 
pay attention. Harvey, was she a plant? 

Native Forum 

The criterion for this category is 
forthright and it is exciting to hear so 
many unique voices sharing their sto- 
ries and expressing cultural spirit. 
That said, while I am thankful 
Sundance has the sincere vision to 
bring the works of indigenous people 
to the public, I can't help but long for 
the day all art is considered on artistic 
merit alone rather than singled out 
due its creator's gender, race, or reli- 

Alanisa Obomsawim focuses on Native 
Canadians in Is the Crown at War with Us? 



gion. Some sterling examples of film- 
making, in whatever context, found 
their way into this category this year. 

Alanis Obomsawin, a member of 
Canada's Abenaki Nation, continues 
her prolific documentary career with 
her exemplary 16mm Is the Crown at 
War with Us? Capturing the Mi'gmaq 
people (the Burnt Church) of New 
Brunswick, Obomsawin presents a 
fascinating look at the Nation's rela- 
tionship with their surroundings and 
the current battle to continue work- 
ing the land and fishing the sea as 
they were promised by Canada's polit- 
ical leaders. 

Shirley Cheechoo's Pikutiskwaau 
(Mother Earth) preserves the stories 
and wisdom of Cree elders so that 
descendants can remain close to and 
continue the oral tradition of passing 
along knowledge from one generation 
to another. Cheechoo recognizes that 
words can paint pictures and 
strengthen our collective identities, 
and in doing so celebrates the unique 
language of a people to a degree that 
puts last year's Nicolas Cage vehicle, 
Windtalkers, to even greater shame. 

Sundance's highlighting of world 
cinema and documentaries over the 
years has been a key element in the 
increased interest among both distrib- 
utors and audiences in these areas of 
film. It would be a marked sign of 
progress if the same esteem were 
afforded to other pieces the festival 
presents. Regardless of delineation, an 
appearance at Sundance is testament 
to true vision and perseverance; hope- 
fully this will someday be enough to 
alert distributors to the talent and 
value these films display. Like the 
skiers who didn't bother to check 
Deer Valley for that precious powder, 
those proclaiming this year was a "soft" 
festival probably didn't take the time to 
look in less obvious places. D 

Jacque Lynn Schiller is a regular contributor to 

IFC Rant magazine. Her first book, 

Porcelain God Speaks, will be coming out 

next fall from Ig Publishing. 



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March 2003 | The Independent 37 



on view 



Work to Watch For 

by Jason Guerrasio 



Theatrical 

Stevie 

Dir. Steve James 

(Lions Gate Films, March 28) 

While in college, filmmaker Steve 
James {Hoop Dreams) became an 
Advocate Big Brother for troubled 
teenager Stevie Fielding, but after 
moving out of the area in 1985 to pur- 
sue his movie career, their connection 
began to wane. The relationship even- 
tually devolved into a yearly Christmas 
card from a guilt-racked James, until 
Fielding reemerged in James' life as a 
subject for his latest documentary, 
Stevie. Originally the film was to be a 
modest portrait of Fielding's life and 
the two Steves' reunion, but it evolved 
into a four-year odyssey that brought 
James closer to the project than he ever 



claims he was tricked into writing), 
Fielding pleads his innocence right up 
to the hearing. James tries his hardest 
to bridge the gap of lost time between 
them with little success. 

Finding himself caught between 
being his role of the objective film- 
maker and that of the subject of his 
own documentary, James admits he 
needed a lot of help from the rest of 
the crew to make the film as impartial 
as he could. "The other people filming 
with me played a crucial role in both 
keeping me honest about my involve- 
ment and also helping to provide 
some clarity about what should stay 
in the film," says James. 

But seeing the troubled kid become 
the troubled man was a "sobering real- 
ization" for James who is determined 



JWW 




to get his father's approval, and hopes 
that with his own career coming into 
focus, he and dad will be closer than 
ever. But with the sudden death of his 
alcoholic mother, Charlie finally sees 
his dad's true colors and is left not 
knowing whom to trust. 

Spun 

Dir. Jonas Akerlund 
(Newmarket Films, March 14) 

Torn between his overpowering need 
for drugs and the little bit of sanity he 
has left, college dropout Ross (Jason 
Schwartzman) chauffeurs the neigh- 
borhood drug manufacturer, The 
Cook (Mickey Rourke), in exchange 
for all the free drugs he can stomach. 
Though he calls his girlfriend every 
second of the day to convince her he's 
clean, Ross can't seem to shake his 
addiction and rides out his high 
through three days of bizarre and 
hilarious situations. 

Laurel Canyon 

Dir. Lisa Cholodenko 

(Sony Pictures Classics, March 7) 

When Sam (Christian Bale) and fiancee 
Alex (Kate Beckinsale) move to the 
Hollywood Hills to pursue their 
careers, the conservative couple is bom- 
barded by the carefree lifestyle of Sam's 
mom (Frances McDormand) and her 
much younger lover, Ian (Alessandro 
Nivola), the lead singer of a British 
band. Sam ignores his mom's rock-n- 
roll ways that have burdened him since 
childhood, while Alex is intrigued by a 
lifestyle she's never seen before. 



wanted. "I think there's no question 
that the film forced me to grapple with 
some things that I would have avoided 
if I hadn't made it," says James. 
"Making the film was therapeutic." 

The documentary chronicles the 
time leading up to Fielding's court 
date for sexually abusing his eight- 
year-old cousin. Though all the evi- 
dence points to his guilt (including a 
written confession that Fielding 



not to abandon him again. "I just try 
to be there," says James about his rela- 
tionship with Fielding today. "If I can 
do that, I have my peace with that." 

The Young Unknowns 

Dir. Catherine Jelski 
(Indican Pictures, March 28) 

A pawn in his father's highly success- 
ful advertising career, Charlie (Devon 
Gummersall) has tried his whole life 



Television 

Mama Africa 

Dirs. Bridget Pickering, 

Ngozi Onwurah, Zulfah Otto-Sallies 

(PBS, March; check local listings) 

"I like the idea of women being por- 
trayed the way they really are, in their 

Above: A young Stephen Fielding, sub- 
ject of Steve James's Stevie. Facing 
Page: Rehane Abrahams and Ayesha 
Meer Krige in Raya, by Zulfa Otto-Sallies. 



38 The Independent | March 2003 




badness, their weakness, their good- 
ness, and their passion. It's about 
time." That's how director Bridget 
Pickering describes her contribution 
to the film Mama Africa, a collection of 
three coming-of-age shorts from three 
talented African women filmmakers. 

Pickering's film, Uno's World, fol- 
lows Uno (Sophie David), a teenage 
mother coping with the responsibili- 
ties of raising a child without a man 
by her side. Director Ngozi 
Onwhura's contribution tells the 
story of Kwame (Brian Biragi), a poor 
but talented West African basketball 
player who must decide which path 
he should choose for his life in Hang 
Time. And Zulfah Otto-Sallies rounds 
out the trio with her film Raya, about 
a young woman (Rehane Abrahams) 
who, after being released from jail, 
tries to reunite with her mother while 
breaking ties with her criminal past. 
"The opportunities presented by 
making Mama Africa axe. ones that I 
hope to piggyback on," says Otto- 
Sallies, who plans to make a feature 
film next. 

Mama Africa was created two years 
ago to give female directors in 
Africa a larger platform to present 
their work. Simon Bright, the film's 
executive producer, adds that bring- 
ing Mama Africa to the States is 
helping extinguish the misconcep- 



tions of Africa as a vio- 
lent country. "They'd be 
completely surprised, in 
a way delighted, by 
what they'd see," says 
Bright of people who 
know only of Africa 
from the press. "The 
reality is so different 
from what is represent- 
ed on international 
news. We've brought 
three tales directly from 
Africa to the rest of the 
world to show how we 
do live." 



Domestic Violence 
& Domestic Violence 2 

Dir: Fredrick Wiseman 
(PBS, March 18&19) 

Veteran documentary filmmaker 
Frederick Wiseman highlights spousal 
abuse in two gripping documentaries. 
In Domestic Violence we follow police to 
abuse calls where, in some instances, 
victims are taken to the hospital 
soaked in blood. Wiseman also takes 
us to a domestic abuse shelter where 
women and children go to start their 
lives over again. In Domestic Violence 2, 
we witness the court system's han- 
dling of these crimes, as victims 
recount the horrific events to judges 
who show no pity on the accused. 

DOCday 

(Sundance Channel, March 3) 

Beginning Monday, March 3, and con- 
tinuing every Monday thereafter, the 
Sundance Channel will feature non- 
fiction films, both shorts and fea- 
tures, in a new program called 
DOCday. Featured docs kicking off 
the program include Marc Singer's 
Dark Days, and the US premieres of 
Stig Bjorkman's Tranceformer and Axel 
Engstefeld and Herbert Habersack's 
Automat Kalashnikov. D 



Jason Guerrasio is a staff writer for 
The Independent. 



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March 2003 | The Independent 39 




If it's August, 
this must be 
South Africa 

WOMEN MAKE MOVIES THIRTIETH 
ANNIVERSARY WORLD TOUR 

By Debra Zimmerman 



As the executive director of Women Make 
Movies, it seemed like a great idea to launch a 
worldwide tour in celebration of our thirtieth 
anniversary. When WMM was founded in 1972 
by Ariel Dougherty and Sheila Paige as a means to train 
women filmmakers, they never dreamed it would become 
the world's largest distributor of films and videotapes by 
and about women. But here we were, thirty years old. 

For our twentieth anniversary, we organized a twenty-city 
theatrical tour in the US, and for our twenty-fifth we were 
honored with a six-week retrospective at the Museum of 
Modern Art in New York City. An international tour would 
give us the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments 
of women filmmakers with an even wider audience by col- 
laborating with thirty different film festivals, museums, 
contemporary art centers, and universities. From Arkansas 



to Singapore, from Brazil to Warsaw, we planned a solid 
year of screenings on every continent except Antarctica. 

When I announced our plans at the Sundance Film 
Festival in January 2002, I was excited to think of all the 
places I and other WMM staff members would be going. 
In practice, though, globetrotting through more than 
one hundred screenings around the world, meeting hun- 
dreds of filmmakers, and being interviewed by countless 
journalists was an exhausting experience. Battling jet lag, 
airport security, and a seemingly endless winter tested 
the limits of my endurance. But almost 100,000 frequent 
flyer miles later, here are just a few of the highlights of 
my trip. 



Souvenirs from Zimmerman's travels across the globe 
celebrating Women Make Movies' 30th anniversary. 



40 The Independent | March 2003 



April: South Korea 

My tour starts with a bang as a jury member at the fourth 
International Women's Film Festival (WIFFS), in Seoul, 
South Korea. Seoul is full of energy, excitement, and an 
exploding independent film scene. There are four or five 
different film festivals in Seoul each year, and the Pusan 
International Film Festival has quickly become the most 
important Asian film festival. What's more, there are four- 
count them, four— weekly magazines devoted to independ- 
ent film, plus a local edition of Premiere. 

In 1997, when I attended the first WIFFS festival, there was 
only one independent woman filmmaker making films in 
South Korea, Byun Young-Joo, who made a trilogy of films 
about Korean "comfort women," the first of which is called 
The Murmuring. Now, just five years later, this has all changed. 
During the fourteen years since democracy has been restored 
in South Korea, the blossoming of the film industry has com- 
bined with a burgeoning feminist movement to create an 
explosion in independent and feminist filmmaking. There 
are numerous women working in all aspects of the industry, 
directing and producing documentaries, features, and shorts. 
All of the South Korean documentaries selected for the 2001 
Yamagata Film Festival, widely considered the most impor- 
tant documentary festival in Asia, were by women directors. 
This year, The Way Home by Lee Jeong-hyang was the second 
highest grossing film in South Korea, beating out The 
Fellowship of the Ring and Spider-Man. 

Here at WIFFS, there are almost twenty films by South 
Korean women and even a documentary on the history of 
women in Korean cinema, Keeping the Vision Alive. Another 
festival favorite, Take Care of My Gztbyjeongjae-eun, a sim- 
ple and touching coming-of-age story, was critically 
acclaimed when I saw it at the Rotterdam Film Festival. 
WIFFS is an incredible success by any standards. Most of 
the seventy screenings are sold out. Teenage boys and girls 
vie to be accepted as volunteers for the festival and wear 
their red-and-purple WIFFS T-shirts proudly. After danc- 
ing the night away at the closing-night party with some of 
Seoul's hippest young filmmakers, I feel lucky that I have 
the opportunity to feel the excitement of a new women's 
film scene being born. 

And the success of South Korean women filmmakers is 
mirrored in neighboring Asian countries. In Taiwan, 
Women Make Waves, a women's film festival named after 
Women Make Movies, is entering its sixth year. Women 
Make Waves has, in turn, spawned Women Make Sister 
Waves, a women's film and video festival which debuted in 
Osaka, Japan, in November 2002. In neighboring Indonesia, 
there is no women's film festival yet, but Nan Ache, the 
producer of Shanty Harmayn's feature Whispering Sands 
(one of the only Indonesian features produced last year) 
runs the Jakarta International Film Festival. And women 
filmmakers in the Philippines have achieved unparalleled 



success— the top four box office directors in that country 
are women. I wish Hollywood executives who claim there's 
no audience in Asia for women's film were aware of what's 
actually going on. 

June: Manchester, Vermont 

When I finally arrive in Manchester, Vermont, after a five- 
hour drive, my first thought is, "What a strange place for a 
film festival." Manchester is probably best known for its 
outlet stores. It's too bad I hate to shop. But the next morn- 
ing, over a plate of homemade pancakes at a country inn, I 
realize that Manchester, like the Hamptons, is a summer 
vacation community with local residents who are support- 
ive of their new festival, the Manchester Film Festival. The 
festival is a four-day affair, full of panels, workshops, and 
screenings with filmmakers in attendance. More than sev- 
enty-five films from two dozen countries will be shown 
over the four days. I am attending this festival with four 
documentaries from WMM, including Mai's America and 
Senorita Extraviada, which shared the IDA's Best 
Achievement in Documentary Award, and Filming Desire: A 
Journey Through Women's Cinema. 

I am, of course, pleased that the organizers have decided 
to devote a day of the festival to women, including a panel 
discussion on women and the film industry, but when I first 
look at the schedule I am a bit worried to find that we've 
been programmed against a full day of panel discussions 
devoted to digital technology. It's a bit like television execs 
scheduling Crossingjordan against Monday Night Football. 

But by the time I take my seat next to filmmaker Heather 
Rae, actress Ally Sheedy, and Eleanor Bergstrom, the 
writer/producer of Dirty Dancing, there are only a few seats 
left in the audience. Sheedy speaks passionately about the 
difficult choices she has made as an actress committed to 
presenting realistic portrayals of women. Bergstrom has 
the audience in stitches as she describes having to get up 
and "dirty dance" at pitch sessions in Hollywood in order 
to get her film made. 

Later that afternoon I meet Gerald Levin, the former 
CEO of Time Warner, at an elegant reception on the lawn 
of his Manchester home. You can hear a pin drop when he 
tells me and the heavy hitters from Digital Day that he 
attended the women's panel instead of the high tech one. 
As we share a lively conversation about the challenges fac- 
ing women in the industry, I am heartened by Levin's gen- 
uine interest (as well as the industry geeks' sudden curiosi- 
ty) in the topic. In the bucolic hills of Vermont I realize that 
we all have something to learn about stereotypes. After all, 
I watch Monday Night Football. Maybe more men are watch- 
ing Crossingjordan than we think. 

August: Johannesburg, South Africa 

It's winter in Johannesburg when I arrive at the Jozi 



March 2003 | The Independent 41 



Summit Film Festival, which is being held in conjunction 
with the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development. 
"Jo'burg" is a fascinating, if difficult, city. White flight 
emptied the downtown a number of years ago, and the city 
is now made up of suburbs. There's almost no public 
transportation to speak of. The official conference is being 
held in Sandton City, a rich, white suburb in the north of 
the city, and the "people's forum" is at Nasrac, a dusty fair- 
ground in the south. 

The festival is organized bv the Film Resource Unit, 

O J ' 

South Africa's only independent media distributor, which 
began as an underground group during Apartheid. Mike 
Dearham and his staff have put tremendous resources 




into this huge event: eleven screens, more than a hundred 
films, and numerous panels and workshops. It's a great 
concept, but it just doesn't work. Unfortunately, there's 
so much going on with the official and unofficial events 
that it is hard for anyone to focus on the film festival, 
especially since each event is taking place in a different 
part of the city. 

But this sprawling event is an excellent opportunity to 
see African films and participate in panel discussions 
with African filmmakers. Carolyn Carew-Maseko, a South 



African producer, describes the groundbreaking work she 
is doing with Lovelife, a high-powered media campaign 
which has the goal of reducing AIDS in South Africa. 
Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima wakes up the audi- 
ence with an eloquent speech about the potential of 
media in South Africa. As the only county on the conti- 
nent that broadcasts outside its borders, South African 
television could be a major force in disseminating 
African-produced media. 

For me, one of the most productive aspects of the trip is 
the opportunity to meet and network with Women of the 
Sun. Organized in 1998 at the Sithengi International Film 
and Television Market by filmmakers and film profession- 
als from Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Trinidad, 
Women of the Sun is a media network and resource organ- 
ization of African women filmmakers. Over the last four 
years they've organized a number of festivals and events, 
including a monthly screening series. During the Jozi 
Summit Film Festival, they presented an alternative film 
festival of films by African and non-African filmmakers, 
complementing the Women Make Movies screenings. 
Xoliswa Sithole's new film, Shouting Silent, a beautiful 
movie about the experiences of young South African 
women who have lost their mothers to AIDS, opens the 
day-long event. Charlayne Hunter Gault, the CNN corre- 
spondent in South Africa and an advisor on the film, intro- 
duces it to the sold-out audience at the Museum of Africa 
in downtown Johannesburg. 

Before leaving Jo'burg for Durban, I accomplish two 
things: I learn to "click" when I pronounce Xoliswa, and 
pick up Shouting Silent for distribution in the US. 

Durban: 

Located on the west coast of South Africa, Durban reminds 
me of Miami Beach before art deco restoration, Madonna, 
and gay boutiques. I'm here for the Durban International 
Film Festival, one of the oldest festivals in South Africa. My 
host, Peter Rorvik, the executive director of the Center for 
Creative Arts at the University of Durban, is the guiding 
force behind this twenty-three-year-old festival. 

The opening-night event is the African premiere of 
Philip Noyce's Rabbit-Proof Fence, a real-life drama based on 
the writing of Australian Aboriginal Doris Pinkerton. 
Although I am terribly ill with the flu, I am completely 
drawn into the simple story and the stunning photography 
of Chris Doyle, Wong Kar Wai's cinematographer. 
Pinkerton, a grandmother of twenty-nine children who is 
in attendance to give a writing workshop, brings the audi- 
ence to tears with her introduction to the film. 

Besides attending the screenings of WMM films, I par- 
ticipate in a panel discussion on the ethics of filmmaking, 
entitled "Who Owns Our Stories." When I looked at the 
program, my first thought was, "Oh, no, not another panel 



42 The Independent | March 2003 



on that subject." But in fact it was incredibly powerful to 
discuss the issue in South Africa, where the vast majority of 
the film industry is still white, yet so many of the stories 
being told are black ones. The audience is challenging and 
confrontational, asking hard questions about the continu- 
ing inequities in the industry. It makes me realize that the 
film industry is a microcosm of the country. In South 
Africa there is more equipment, labs, and trained profes- 
sionals than in any other African nation, yet the process of 
training black media professionals and turning the power 
of the media over to the racial majority still lags far behind 
where it should be. It reminds me of the situation women 
faced in the US thirty years ago; which, of course, is part of 
the reason Women Make Movies was founded. But groups 
like Women of the Sun, and events like these festivals, are 
good signs for the future. 

November: Warsaw, Poland 

When I arrive in Poland, I realize that many of the coun- 
tries I've visited have gone through major upheavals in the 
last ten to fifteen years. South Africa experienced the end 
of Apartheid; Korea, the rebirth of democracy; and in 
Poland, of course, there was the fall the Berlin Wall and the 
end of Communism. 

Ula Sniegowaksa, the curator of the Center for 
Contemporary Arts, was interested in bringing WMM to 
Warsaw because almost no one in Poland has had the 
chance to see feminist independent films. Ula's enthusi- 
asm is infectious. She has managed to get support from 
the US embassy for a week-long exhibition, a lecture on 
feminist filmmaking, and workshops on film distribution 
and marketing. There's even going to be a reception cele- 
brating our thirtieth anniversary, hosted by the American 
cultural attache. I can't help but think of the irony of a 
Polish Jewish American being invited back to the country 
my relatives fled. 

But Warsaw in 2002 is a far cry from the Warsaw my 
grandparents left. The city is a study in contradictions. 
Everything feels old, yet ninety-five percent of the city was 
rebuilt after World War II. My hotel reminds me of the ex- 
KGB hotel where I stayed in St. Petersburg in 1991. It's a 
huge place with incredibly tiny, narrow rooms and single 
beds. The only other guests seem to be businessmen in gray 
suits. On the streets, capitalism abounds: There are ads for 
consumer goods everywhere, yet on Sunday I am taken to a 
huge flea market where thousands of people are selling old 
shoes, batteries, and other household goods. 

The Center for Contemporary Arts is a new art space 
housed in an old castle. Although the architecture is dis- 
tinctively Eastern European, the art scene is definitely 

Facing Page: Globe-trotter Debra Zimmerman back home in 
New York. Above: Zimmerman with the volunteers and staff 
of Kansas City's Halfway to Hollywood Film Festival. 



Western. French designer Phillipe Starck has an exhibition 
opening, and a Shirin Neshat exhibition recently closed. 
The program of recent shows is impressive by any stan- 
dards, but here it is extraordinary, given that there are no 
Polish foundations and the government provides no sup- 
port except the space. 

Ula has done an amazing job of developing and pro- 
moting a retrospective of predominately experimental 
films which includes the films of Maya Deren, Sally 
Potter, Mona Hatoum, Midi Onodera, and Ngozi 
Onwurah. There's lots of mainstream press interest— 
there's even an article in Vogue— and I'm interviewed on 




the country's most popular TV magazine program devot- 
ed to film. When I'm asked to compare the status of 
women's filmmaking in America to the local scene, I'm 
glad I did my homework. 

The history of women's filmmaking in Poland is simi- 
lar to the rest of Eastern Europe. Women filmmakers have 
always fared better under Communism than under capi- 
talism. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, there were a sig- 
nificant number of women filmmakers in Poland. 
Though the second wave of feminism had little impact on 
Poland (or on other communist countries), filmmakers 
like Barbara Sass and Agnieska Holland had the opportu- 
nity to make feature films in the 1970's and 1980's. In 
fact, Holland is one of the few women directors ever to be 
nominated for an Academy Award, for her 1985 film 
Angry Harvest. 

But when Communism collapsed, so did the old govern- 
ment-funded studio system. Since then, it has become 
increasingly difficult for filmmakers to make films at all. 
There's a whole generation of young filmmakers who know 
next to nothing about marketing their films, in or outside 
of Poland. These are the young people who come to the 
workshops I give on marketing and distribution. I feel a lit- 
tle bit like a shill for American-style capitalism, but they are 



March 2003 | The Independent 43 



so eager for information and networking char I am grateful 
re have die opportunity ro share my expertise. I am com- 
pletely drawn inco their enthusiasm. The workshop is so 
successful that we continue it long into the night first at a 
restaurant and then at a bar. 

The day before I leave, one of the students offers to drive 
me ro Lomza. my grandparents' old village. I go with the 
irrational and naive thought that I might be able to find a 
rrace ot my past. It turns out to be a hopeless and devas- 
tating experience. There's not a sign that Jewish people ever 
lived there, except a forlorn and vandalized cemetery and 
the suspicion of the local people that I've come to claim the 
property my grandparents left behind. But I leave Poland 
having found something else: a country in transformation 
and a group of young filmmakers, particularly women, 
with a vision of a different Poland. 

I come home in December to face a pile of correspon- 



dence, my still unfinished apartment renovation, and the 
beginning of winter in New York. As I relax at home for 
the first time in months, I reflect on all of my experiences 
over the last year. It was inspiring to see how women's 
films are being received, and how women's film festivals 
are thriving. I've met so many wonderful people and have 
learned so much about the global independent film com- 
munity. Thirty years after the start of Women Make 
Movies, I can't believe how far we've come. I can't wait to 
see what happens in next thirty years— which is probably 
how long it will take before I attempt another world 
anniversary tour. But then again, I still have trips to 
Turkey, France, and the Czech Republic in 2003 to get 
through before this tour is over. 

Debra Zimmerman is the executive director of Women Make Movies. 
For more information, visit www.wmm.com. 



Debra Zimmerman's Women 

Make Movies 30th Anniversary 

World Tour Itinerary 



Women Make Movies 



30th ANNIVERSARY 



^ 



1-31: (Boston, MA), Boston Museum of Fine Arts. 



9-10: (Washington, DC), Center for Social Media, 
American University 



1-31: (Bryn Mawr, PA), Bryn Mawr College. 4-12: (Seoul, 
South Korea), Seoul Women's Film Festival 



1-3: (Colorado Springs, CO), Rocky Mountain Women's Film 
Festival 1-10: (Honolulu, Hawaii), Hawaii International Film 
Festival, 16-21: (Warsaw, Poland), Center for Contemporary Art 
25-30: (Bilbao, Spain, Bilbao) International Festival of 
Documentary & Short Films 






!Y 



3-12: (Kansas City, MO), Halfway to Hollywood Film Festival 



16-26: (Park City, UT), Sundance Film Festival 



4-16: (Belo Horizonte, Brazil), Belo Horizonte International Short 
Film Festival. 27-30: (Manchester, VT), Manchester International 
Film Festival 



17-20: (Byron Bay, Australia), Australian International 
Documentary Conference 



Aug 16 - Sept 4: (Johannesburg, South Africa), Jozi 
Summit Film Festival 



21-30: Paris, France, Creteil Women's Film Festival 



5-8: 'Durban, South Africa), Durban International Film Festival 



8-16: Prague, Czech Republic, One World International 
Film Festival 



44 The Independent | March 2003 




Behind the Camera 



This was going to be the last article ever on woman 
cinematographers. It shouldn't be news in 2003 
that women are making movies— gorgeous, stun- 
ning, provocative movies— and with Ellen Kuras 
shooting big-budget Hollywood films like Analyze That, can 
anyone still argue that the gaze is male? 

But consider this: According to the annual "Celluloid 
Ceiling" study conducted by Martha Lauzen at San Diego 
State University, only two percent of the cinematographers 
working on the 250 highest-grossing films of 2001 were 
women, down from four percent in 1998 and 1999. In the 
top grossing 100 of 2001, only one percent were shot by 
women, down from two percent in 2000 and three percent 
in 1999. Compare this to the percentages of women in 
some of the most "macho" professions: The Department of 
Labor reports that in 2001, 5.3 percent of truck drivers, 6.7 
percent of stevedores, and a whopping twenty-one percent 
of metal-plating machine operators were women. 

Maryse Alberti on the set of The Guys. 



By Ann Lewi n son 

Clearly, the film business still has a long way to go to 
catch up with such "unenlightened" industries. Although 
independent film has been hospitable to women for many 
years, Hollywood is still reluctant to put a woman in charge 
of photography. "I think when you get to a certain level of 
budget, people have a tendency to trust men more than 
women," says Maryse Alberti, who's shot on a diverse group 
of indie hits including Crumb, Happiness, and Velvet 
Goldmine. And many cinematographers would gladly trade 
the freedom of independent filmmaking for a bigger box of 
toys. "I want to shoot big Hollywood movies," says Tami 
Reiker, the director of photography on High Art and The 
Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love. "Ellen's bust- 
ing open that ceiling for all of us." 

But will an ambush of female cinematographers come 
rushing in after her? "Even to this day, there's a real bias 
about women shooting studio features," says Nancy 
Schreiber, whose resume includes Your Friends and 
Neighbors, Visions of Light, and The Celluloid Closet. "We run 
three departments: grip, electric, and camera. It must be 



March 2003 | The Independent 45 



scarv for guvs co relinquish char kind of conrrol. I chink on 
some very subliminal level ic's cultural." 

The economy hasn'c helped maccers. "Since che cech 
marker crashed and rhe chrearened scrikes of lasc year, 
there are fewer independent movies," says Schreiber. 
"When cimes are cough, people hold in che reigns and rhey 
ger really conservative. There's a lot of fear, so che firsc ones 
co go are women and minorities." 

Schreiber lives in Los Angeles but keeps her aparrmenc in 
New York because she prefers shoocing smaller, independenc 
films. "I chink it's more difficult in Los Angeles. I am glad chac 
I came up in che business in New York, because anything goes 
there. It's not a company cown— che scakes are nor so high." 

"I was in LA for cen years," says Joey Forsyce, whose firsc 
film as a DP was Henry Jaglom's New Year's Day. Since chen 
she's shoe sevenceen feacures. "Three of chem were in a 
movie cheacer for chree weeks. I chink chey're good movies. 
Because che discribucion world fell aparc, and chere are so 
man\' movies compering for chose few slots, my work just 
didn't get that exposure. And without that kind of expo- 
sure, ir's really hard to move ahead." 

When Forsyte enrolled at NYU, she was che firsc female 
scudent who wanted to shoot features. "Every single 
teacher told me, 'Women don't shoot movies.' I got thrown 
out of che only cinemacography class worch anyching ac 
chac school because I was female. Buc I came of age ac a 
cime when women were facing obscacles of all kinds, and 
we jusc didn'c liscen co any of ic." 

Neicher Alberci nor Schreiber wenc Co film school. 
Alberci, who scarred off phocographing che Plasmacics and 
Iggy Pop for che New York Rocker, goc her firsc movie-sec job 
shoocing stills on a pornographic film. "At that time, a lot 
of the crews were young studencs ouc of NYU or people like 
me, and the producers and directors were all Jewish or 
Italian men with wigs." Schreiber goc her firsc produccion 
assiscanc job by answering an ad in The Village Voice. By che 
end of che shooc, she was an eleccrician. Forsyce also scart- 
ed in electric, but ic cook her two years to get a job. "I did 
mostly construction during those two years; the male- 
chauvinistic construccion induscry was much more open 
co women." The films she finally goc hired on weren't bad- 
she worked as a gaffer on Blood Simple and as best boy on 
three Robert Altman films. 

Women who chose che camera assiscanc rouce found 
obscacles as well. "Very early on," recalls Alberri, "rhis first 
AC was such an asshole with me, and it was obviously 
because I was the girl. I went co che bachroom and cried a 
few cimes, buc I kepc on doing my job. And now he's scill a 
first AC and I'm a DP." Proposicions and sexisc remarks 
came wich che cerricory. "There were definicely momencs 
where I would just walk away and under my breath be like, 
'Remember my name,'" says Reiker. "You jusc maneuver 
around ir and keep going." 



Nancy Schiesari, whose work includes che documen- 
caries Warrior Marks and the Oscar-nominated Regret to 
Inform, studied filmmaking ac che Royal College of Art in 
London. Her firsr job was on the all-woman crew of Sally 
Potter's film The Gold Diggers, as firsr AC to Babette 
Mangolte. She endured a "grueling" meeting to get a union 
card: "All these cameramen were around this huge oak 
table. One asked, 'Could you carry a 35mm camera up a 
mountain?'" With her union card, Schiesari worked steadi- 
ly for three years as one of the only two female camera assis- 
tants at the BBC at the time. "One day one of the gaffers 
said, 'You'll be an assistant for your whole life if you stay 
here,' so I took his word and got out of the BBC." Schiesari, 
who now teaches at the University of Texas in Austin, got 
an Emmy nomination last fall for John Cleese's The Human 
Face— produced for the BBC. 

Schreiber found that making the leap from electric to 
camera meant directing her own documentary short, 
Possum Living. "I saw that the other DP's that were women 
were getting work mostly in documentaries. I had come up 
in features and commercials, but I had to really hone my 
handheld skills. It was sort of ironic because later, people 
thought I came out of documentaries." 

How documentaries became "women's work" is hardly a 
mystery. "You don't do a lot of talking," says Schiesari, 
"you do a lot of sitting on the outside, watching." At the 
same time, she notes, "You've got to be assertive to get a 
film made. You've got to have all those so-called 'male 
traits' to get things done. If you've experienced oppression 
or marginalization, and you develop the qualities that our 
capitalist sociecy has foscered, chen you can use chac sense 
of oppression to work for you, and have that sensitive eye." 

But being perceived as "sensitive" can limit your career. 
"Kathryn Bigelow and Mimi Leder direct action," says 
Schreiber, whose latest documentary, Robert Capa: In Love 
and War, premiered at Sundance in January 2003. "They 
broke thac scereocype. Why do people chink we can only do 
certain kinds of stories?" Many female DP's are not partic- 
ularly drawn to scripts about three generations of women 
making a quilt. "You have all the cliches that women are 
more nurturing," says Alberti. "I am more interested in the 
strange, the dark, the sexual, the edge of society." 

Younger cinematographers can't afford to be so picky. 
"I've always worked; that hasn't been a problem," says 
Therese Sherman, whose films includes the 2001 Oscar- 
nominated documencary Legacy and a documencary on the 
photographer Hansel Mierh, direcced by Nancy Schiesari, 
which premieres on PBS May 27. Scill, chirceen years after 
graduating from Columbia College in Chicago, she's 
shoocing Fear Factor. "I gauge my career by che people I 
wenc co film school wich, and che women are scill shoocing 
independenc feacures and realicy TV for money, and some 
of che men are shooring Oscar-winning movies. No one 



46 The Independent | March 2003 



ever calls you up and says, 'You didn't get that job because 
you're female,' but that happens enough and you get older 
and then you don't get the next job because you're com- 
peting against people that have had more experience 
because they've gotten those opportunities." Sherman's 
started a TV commercial production company and finds 
she's getting more into producing. "The women I talk to, 
we really don't understand it. We try so hard, we're all so 
very good, but it just doesn't matter." 

None of the features Sherman 
has shot have been theatrically 
released. "Young women who are 
shooting now," says Forsyte, "we 
probably don't even know who half 
of them are because we're not see- 
ing their work. You're never going 
to get to shoot a $100 million fea- 
ture if you don't shoot a million 
dollar feature." 

Of course, getting that million 
dollar feature has never been easy. 
"One of my agents once did a little 
test and fast-forwarded my reel a few 
minutes ahead and got it back from 
a potential employer in the same 
position," recalls Schreiber. "Then 
there was an agent that wanted me to 
just put my initials on the reel." Joey 
Forsyte found that her first name got 
her interviews— only interviews. "I 
went for one interview, and the pro- 
ducer called me after it was over. He 
said, 'I hate to tell you that until you 

walked in the door, this director was going to hire you.' 
There have probably been a half-dozen times where some- 
body has called me to tell me that, which is a courageous 
thing to do because it's not legal." 

Schreiber notes that it can be another obstacle to 
maneuver around. "I cannot focus on thinking that I did- 
n't get work because I was a woman," she says. "It's tough 
for everybody. The chemistry was just better with some- 
body else. It's just like finding a mate in a relationship. 
That's the healthiest attitude I can have." 

Once they're on the set, women are expected be on their 
best behavior. "It's really hard for us to be big swinging 
dicks," says Sherman, "and we can't afford to have that 
really common male cinematographer's ego— not to say 
they all have it— because our jobs are so fragile." Schreiber 
agrees: "There's a fine line between assertive and aggressive. 
Guys can be assholes as DP's and get places, but women 
have to watch their step. We have to be better than the 
guys; we have to work faster, be more creative, not step out 
of line, not get moody." 



With a generation raised by working mothers, and a 
growing number of female producers and studio heads, 
you'd think opportunities would be increasing. But expe- 
rience has shown otherwise. "When there's already a pro- 
duction designer in place and it's a woman, we often don't 
get hired," says Schreiber. Forsyte has seen equally skewed 
hiring practices. "Men who are younger than me and men 
who are gay have been the most likely to hire me," says 




Forsyte. "Either women are the most likely to hire me, or 
the least likely. In the major feature world, they are so 
nervous about their own positions that they're terrified of 
taking a risk. They will take a guy who's shot a small movie 
and put him on a big movie, but they're unlikely to do that 
with a woman." 

In the indie world, it's a different story. "There've been 
female producers and directors that have helped me a lot," 
says Reiker, who, she says, found her NYU connections 
invaluable. "I shot Maria Maggenti's film The Incredibly True 
Adventures of Two Girls in Love, and my friend Dolly Hall was 
the producer. Dolly then produced High Art, which I shot, 
and then Maria wrote a movie called The Love Letter, so now 
she was hanging out with the Spielbergs and writing this 
script with Kate Capshaw. She screened High Art for the 
Spielbergs and Peter Chan, the director, and they loved it 
and that's how I got my first studio movie." 

Reiker suddenly found herself in Hollywood. "I had an 
amazing experience on The Love Letter. Everyone at 
Dreamworks was very excited to have a woman shooting 



March 2003 | The Independent 47 



this movie. You're up chore and you have every last makeup 
woman, every script supervisor, saying, 'You go girl, I'm so 
proud of you. 1 1 shoot a lot of commercials all over the 
world, and that's where you really get, when you're in 
Cambodia or Africa or Mexico and everyone's like, 'I've 
never seen a woman behind the camera before!' 

The next generation of cinematographers may find that 
it's more difficult CO £et started. "It's much harder now," 



.*•■■ ; - 



"Why do people think 
[women] can only do 
certain kinds of stories'- 



- NANCY SCHIESARI 



says Reiker. "In the eighties and the beginning of the 
nineties, MTV was exploding. I shot a lot of MTV promos— 
they were like little commercials, all 35mm. I don't know if 
there are as many outlets now for little things. All of that 
stuff is getting shot on tape. It just makes it harder to make 
that film reel." Indeed, Reiker's most recent film, Pieces of 
April, which played at Sundance this year, was shot digital- 
ly at a cost of $150,000. 

However, one thing has changed for the better: Female 
AC's are becoming as common on the set as female script 
supervisors. Forsyte's current camera assistant is a man, 
but previously she only hired women (including Tami 
Reiker). "A woman is more likely to tell me what she can 
and can't do. In fact, women usually underrate themselves, 
whereas a lot of guys will inflate what they can do." 

Schreiber notes that many men are hiring female AC's. 
"Male DP's seem to love having women AC's because 
they're being supported, just like with their wives." But 
how many of those AC's are becoming DP's? "It's been very 
sad for me," says Schreiber. "I have worked with many won- 
derful woman camera assistants, and many of them have 
not gone on to shoot. It's a very rough life because we have 
to travel on the spur of the moment. What do you do if you 
have kids? You have to stay in town, work on commercials, 



or have a partner that shares child-rearing so you're able to 
do the three-month shoots." 

Alberti turned down Boys Don't Cry to spend more time 
with her son, now nine years old. "This business is really 
not conducive to having a family first. We've made a lot of 
progress, but I think that women are not only expected to 
hunt and gather, but also take care of the food and the kids 
in the cave. So I try to balance both. I'm really going to try 
very hard to make the right choices to 
keep on having an interesting career. 
In order to be a good mother, I need to 
be a cinematographer— that's part of 
me; that gives me life and passion. But 
my son will always come first." 

A desire for a family is one reason 
these DP's suspect that many young 
women are not pursuing cinematogra- 
phy careers, but another may be that 
women are too tough on themselves, a 
liability in such a technically intimi- 
dating field. "When we were kids, we 
never played baseball," explains 
Forsyte, "and if we had played base- 
ball, we would have realized that strik- 
ing out two out of three times makes 
you the best baseball player on the 
planet. You can make some mistakes 
and it's okay." 

Or perhaps it's just that today's 
young women are unaccustomed to the kind of struggle 
that previous generations took for granted. "There are a lot 
of good woman DP's coming out of schools, but on the 
whole their numbers are dropping," says Schiesari. "When 
I first started teaching about nine years ago here at Austin, 
it was about fifty-fifty. My last sync sound class had twelve 
men and one woman." 

These things go in waves, and nine years from now 
Schiesari's classes may be filled with women who grew up 
watching Claire Danes in The Mod Squad and saw Kuras' 
name on the screen. And they'll walk through doors 
opened by two generations of women who just kept shoot- 
ing, no matter what. "I think the most destructive thing 
about the lack of opportunities for myself and other 
women is that it hasn't made a lot of successful women vis- 
ible to women that are younger than us," says Forsyte. 
"They don't see a lot of women up there winning Academy 
Awards. I'm discouraged that they're so discouraged, 
because I feel like I'm a success. My name's not on a lot of 
big movies, but I'm really loving what I do. I think shoot- 
ing is one of the best jobs in the world." 

Ann Lewinson is a New York-based writer on arts and culture. 

Her work has appeared in Stagebill, Citysearch, and 

P.S.I 's Special Project Writers Series. 



48 The Independent | March 2003 



Women in Film Stats 



We usually think of the film world as being liberal and progressive, but the fact is, you are more likely to meet a female police 
officer than a female director. Nineteen percent of the LAPD is made up of women, while in 2001 only six percent of the 250 
top-grossing films in the US were directed by women, and only two percent were shot by one. By looking at both the top 100 
films and the top 250 films, The Celluliod Ceiling, a study by Martha Aluzen of San Diego State University, is able to determine 
that there is only a slight increase in the number of women working in independent films with distribution as opposed to 
Hollywood blockbusters. 

While these numbers are depressing, there are also some positive signs. Aluzen's study shows women are twice as like- 
ly to be hired in key roles on films with women directors. And in 2003, women directed twenty-eight percent of the films 
screened at the Sundance Film Festival, an increase of three percent from the previous year. A record-breaking twenty-one 
percent of the feature films were directed by women. In 1999 only eight percent of the features at Sundance were credit- 
ed with a female director. 

Here are a few more numbers to think about. — Compiled by The Independent staff 



MFA Applicants to the New York University Kanbar Institute of Film and 
Television at the Tisch School of Arts. 



600 
500 
400 
300 
200 



Hi Female Applicants 1 1 Male Applicants 


i ' n r 


- 


-i 




III! 


1 


_! 






J 


1 1 


1 


1 


■ 


. n 







1992 '93 '94 



'95 



'96 '97 '98 '99 



■01 



'02 



Percentage of total days worked by female DGA members. 



20% 
























15% 
























10% 
















































5% 






























1989 '90 '91 



'92 '93 '94 '95 '96 '97 '98 '99 

-Directors Guild of America 2001 



Percentage of women employed in top grossing 100 and top grossing 
250 films of 2001. 



25 
20 
15 
10 
5 






m Top 100 nm top 250 










I 








! | 


1 I 




|! 


1! 1 


1 ; 


\ .n : 



Executive Producer Director Writer Cinematographer Editor 
producer 

—The Celluloid Ceiling 



76% 



Women make 76$ to 
every dollar men earn. 

-US Dept of Labor, 2001 




14% of the US Senate 
are women. 

-US Senate 2003 




Women make up 51.1% 
of the US population. 



-US Census 2000 




19% of the LA County 
police dept are women. 

-The Los Angeles Police Department 2002 



March 2003 | The Independent 49 









is 



.,;:.•.>! 



and the Ivory Tower 

MOVING BEYOND THE MALE GAZE AND HOLLYWOOD 

By Patricia R. Zimmermann 




In 1975, Laura Mulvey altered the way many people, 
especially academics, see men and women in film 
with the publication of her essay "Visual Pleasure and 
Narrative Cinema" in the influential British film 
journal Screen. Mulvey demonstrated how the classic 
Hollywood film narrative was constructed so that the spec- 
tator identified with the gaze of the leading, male character. 
She deployed psychoanalysis like a scalpel to Hitchcock 
and Von Sternberg. Men looked, women were looked at; 
men were active plot-makers, women passive fetishes. Men 
were subjects, women objects. 

Today the article is footnoted in virtually every scholar- 
ly essay on feminist cinema and taught to every film 
school undergraduate as a sacred text. But nearly thirty 
years after Mulvey's groundbreaking essay, feminist film 
practice has moved way beyond only a difference of gen- 
der. It now spans a new, wider landscape of queer, multi- 
cultural, international, and political work. This new film- 
making has emerged in the last ten years parallel with 
new academic trends mining the same ideas. The shift 



towards cultural studies, history, critical race theory, and 
postcolonial theory has provoked more interest in inde- 
pendent cinema in classrooms and in research than twen- 
ty years ago. Feminist film theory as Mulvey and her con- 
temporaries approached it is now one historical strand in 
a complex array of interdisciplinary ideas. "The most 
interesting issues in feminist film revolve around ques- 
tions of race, ethnicity, class and sexuality in relation to 
gender," claims Gina Marchetti, associate professor of 
cinema and photography at Ithaca College and author of 
Romance and the Yellow Peril: Race, Sex and Discursive 
Strategies in Hollywood Fiction. 

But the new feminist film ecosystem is so vast and hosts 
so many diverse forms that many overworked media schol- 
ars in the academy find it a gargantuan task to keep up 
with new films, new debates, and new developments— and 
more often than not, retreat to a more familiar, clear-cut 
Hollywood product which can be more easily taught 
because of the availability of a larger body of published 
essays and books. "Feminist film is a huge field now. You 



50 The Independent | March 2003 



need to be a polyglot," observes Christine Holmlund, pro- 
fessor of French at the University of Tennessee and author 
of Impossible Bodies: Femininity and Masculinity at the Movies. 
"The sheer volume of independent work from all over the 
US and the globe is hard to keep up with— you need some- 
one to search it out for you, a field guide." 

Other scholars and curators argue feminist film is no 
longer a viable category in the twenty-first century. 
"Feminist film has fallen into the quagmire of other alterna- 
tive work," notes Scott Mac 
Donald, film professor and author 
of The Garden in the Machine: A Field 
Guide to Independent Films about 
Place. "It's ignored. If/s curricular- 
ized. Feminist film courses at the 
college level ghettoize feminist 
film— the original energy in the 
1970's was cross-disciplinary." 

Many current film and media 
students find the intensity of sev- 
enties feminist film theorists puz- 
zling and wonder what the fuss 
was all about. Diane Waldman, 

co-editor of the influential volume Feminism and 
Documentary, who has taught for over twenty years at the 
University of Denver, reflects that the 1970's feminist film 
theory debates seem arcane twenty-five years later. "It's dif- 
ficult to convey to students why people were passionate 
about those debates between documentary realism and 
political modernism. We are now in a less prescriptive place 
about how to make a feminist film." 

In the heady seventies, feminist academics helped propel 
the feminist movement and feminist independent filmmak- 
ing by using academic theory to analyze culture from a gen- 
der and classed perspective. "Scholars were drawing from a 
canon of melodrama, westerns, Hitchcock, Hollywood, and 
some European cinema. Lots of scholars in the 1970's and 
1980's were using psychoanalysis and structuralism because 
they came out of literary tradition. They were employing 
very rigorous theoretical models to legitimate feminist 
inquiry around a shared archive," says Amy Villarejo, 
Coeditor of Key Frames: Popular Culture and Cultural Studies. 
Many in the field note the demise of the once exciting, often 
volatile coalition between feminist film, feminist theoretical 
work, and the women's movement which invigorated other 
disciplines and causes. Across a range of disciplines— not just 
in film schools— feminist questions have in many ways 
become neutralized as merely academic issues to advance 
professorial careers and not an art form propelling ideas and 



Amy Villarejo's Key Frames: Popular Cinema and Cultural 
Studies, and Diane Waldman's Feminism and Documentary. 
See reading list on page 54. 



m* 


1 

«4 






, 


FEMINISM 
AND 
DOCUMENTARY - 


. jjflp 




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Ii'SliilJiJvi CULTURAL STCJBUBS 1 


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politics. "Feminist film got left behind. The energy now is in 
queer, multicultural, post-colonial work," contends B. Ruby 
Rich, author of Chick Flicks and most recently a 2002 Toronto 
Film Festival programmer. "Feminist film in the academy 
has taken its place as a genre— not as a politic, not as some- 
thing you organize around. Feminist film study as a disci- 
pline is not political anymore." 

Two recent academic film conferences featuring spe- 
cial workshops on feminist film theory and pedagogy 
support Rich's view of how aca- 
demia has disconnected and iso- 
lated itself from contemporary 
independent feminist filmmak- 
ing—and politics. At the Society 
for Cinema Studies (SCS) May 
2002 conference at a special 
workshop on feminist film many 
scholars lamented feminist film 
was moribund, citing the confer- 
ence's lack of stand-alone femi- 
nist panels. But many attendees, 
who cut their political teeth in 
the Marxist feminist film politics 
of the 1970's rather than the more textually-based psy- 
choanalytic feminist paradigm, openly disagreed. They 
observed that feminist thinking has infused work in doc- 
umentary, experimental film, digital culture, and early 
cinema— work that operates below the radar of 
Hollywood as intervention and opposition. Others criti- 
cized the panelists for only discussing American com- 
mercial cinema and ignoring independent feminist cine- 
ma and its connection to global politics. Nearly all the 
younger scholars, women of color, and queers walked out 
of the packed auditorium, silently protesting the exclu- 
sively white panel of senior women. 

Another panel on feminist pedagogy at the University 
Film and Video Conference (UFVC) in August 2002 echoed 
the SCS event. When panelists shared syllabi with mostly 
Hollywood fare as models of how to teach women and film, 
conferees, both scholars and university-based filmmakers, 
launched into a debate about the necessity— and ethical 
urgency— for academics to function more like curators 
showing and discussing independently produced queer, 
multicultural, and international feminist work. "Although 
there are notable exceptions, feminist film scholars, in gener- 
al, do not give feminist filmmaking the attention it rightly 
deserves," says Marchetti. 

Many graduate students, new professors, and emerging 
feminist filmmakers complain that the major academic 
professional organizations sanitize film culture: They sep- 
arate the study of film and media from social, cultural, and 
political concerns. These younger scholars and filmmakers, 
who requested anonymity, have found it nearly impossible 



March 2003 | The Independent 51 



to gee their research and films on race, sexuality, and 
nation into what they criticize as elite clubs of insulated, 
lethargic senior academics more concerned about career 
perks than changing the world. They contend that this 
over-professionalization of feminist film theory in the 
academy sandbags any hope of developing sustained insti- 
tutional relationships between feminist academics and 
practicing mediamakers. Most of these younger academics 
have round themselves migrating to more interdisciplinary 
enclaves where intellectual risk taking, border crossing, 
and coalition building between communities and the acad- 
emy is valued. 

Scholars and festival programmers representing a range 
of experiences worry that academic feminist film theory 
and feminist film practice are detached and disconnected 
from each other. To many the field of feminist film has 
morphed beyond critiques of patriarchy, reactionary femi- 
nism, and ivy-covered walls. "Feminist film has to interact 
with the world," explains Kara Keeling, a Carolina post- 
doctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina who 
wrote part of her dissertation on Set It Off and Eve's Bayou. 
"Critical theory, ethnic studies, and black studies have real- 
ly challenged us to see film in terms of cultural produc- 
tion," Keeling explains. "We are no longer talking about 
film as discrete texts but as part of larger contexts of social, 
political, and economic relations." 

A new generation of feminist filmmakers is emerging 
who reaped the benefits of the battles fought and won by 
the seventies women's movement through greater access to 
professional training and education. They now come to 
filmmaking with an expanded, different set of skills and 
ideas. Catherine Portuges, professor at the University of 
Massachusetts and curator of its Multicultural Film 
Festival, maintains that "the younger generation of makers 
have been educated in film schools— they are self-conscious 
about representation in often exciting ways." 

In her role as a festival director, Portuges observes a much 
different, and in some ways much more academic, feminist 
filmmaking environment from the 1970's, 1980's, and 
1990's. Filmmakers in the US are struggling to get their 
work out as arts funding has been catastrophically reduced 
for both nonprofit media production and media infrastruc- 
tures. As a result, it is now almost impossible for independ- 
ent filmmakers in any genre to earn their living as filmmak- 
ers. Portuges sees more and more filmmakers turning to 
MFA programs to secure credentials to teach at universities 
for job security and health insurance. And universities, look- 
ing to boost enrollments in highly attractive areas, have 
aggressively expanded film production offerings and film- 
making positions. Many more women teach film produc- 
tion at the university level than could ever have been imag- 
ined in 1975. With many more women filmmakers on the 
tenure track, academic careerism and advancement have put 



a damper on more open, militant political engagement. 

Perhaps as a consequence, most of these women do not 
seem to be producing films that are clearly labeled as fem- 
inist expressions. Ruth Bradley, director of the Athens 
International Film Festival at Ohio University, sees much 
less explicitly feminist work, and many more films making 
connections and links to other struggles by filmmakers 
such as Elisabeth Subrin, Leah Gilliam, and Ximena 
Cuevas (Mexico). "The most urgent and compelling femi- 
nist work right now looks at issues of justice, such as ter- 
rorism, globalization, the rise of religious fundamentalism 
around the world, civil liberties, and reproductive rights," 
according to Waldman. 

More and more of that work is coming from outside of 
the US. Provocative, gusty female filmmakers are emerging 
across the globe— feminist film has internationalized. 
Paula Rabinowitz, professor of English at the University of 
Minnesota, contends that US-based feminism and feminist 
film lacks vitality compared to debates and works from 
post-communist Europe and Russia. Rich notes that at this 
year's Toronto Film Festival, coming-of-age films with an 
international flair from New Zealand {Whale Eider, by Nicki 
Caro), England {Bend it Like Beckam, by Gurinder Chada), 
and the US {Real Women Have Curves, by Patricia Cardozo) 
attracted large, enthusiastic audiences. "There are fabulous 
films being made by women. And the work has a public, 
unlike what we are told." 

New, path-breaking feminist voices nurtured by cultures 
with different ideas and values are taking their place on the 
international stage. Margarita de la Vega-Hurtado, executive 
director of the Robert Flaherty Seminars and a former univer- 
sity professor of cinema, argues that Latin American women 
filmmakers such as Marta Rodriguez (Colombia) and 
Lucrecia Martel (Argentina) are more politically engaged than 
US-based filmmakers. "Latin American women's cinema has 
less focus on the individual and more on the collective." 

Audacious, bold directors like Claire Denis {Beau Travail), 
Agnes Varda {The Gleaners and L), and Catherine Breillat {Fat 
Girl) evidence how feminist film can flourish— and inno- 
vate—in a climate of healthy public arts funding that values 
more than the box office numbers. France, for example, 
with some of the highest levels of funding for the arts in 
the world, has spawned a large group of women directors 
who take on hard questions of sexuality, race, class, and 
national identity for a larger audience. But in the United 
States, not only are filmmakers struggling with shrinking 
budgets, so are academics. Almost every university has 
downsized or restructured, leaving many professors with 
only $500 a semester for film and video rentals, barely 
enough to rent two features on 16mm. Some universities 
don't even bother to screen film anymore, quietly pressur- 
ing faculty into renting from the video stores in order to 
deal with new austerity measures as endowments constrict 



52 The Independent | March 2003 



from the tanked stock market. As a result, many professors 
are forced to turn more and more to the examination of 
Hollywood product, not because these are better films or 
more contentious works of art, but because they can be 
rented for $4 at Blockbuster. "With current budgetary 
restraints, it is easier to find financial support for commer- 
cial DVD's than highly experimental work, documentaries, 
or shorts," explains Christina Lane, author of Feminist 



circumcision), Shinjuku Boys by Kim Longinotto and Jano 
Williams (transvestism), Body Beautiful by Ngozi Onwurah 
(interracial families and breast cancer), Four Women of Egypt 
by Tahani Rached (Middle East), Performing the Border by 
Ursula Biemann (global manufacturing), and Senorita 
Extraviada, Missing Young Women by Lourdes Petillo 
(unsolved murders in Mexico) top the list of WMM best 
sellers in academia, suggesting that feminist political con- 



"IFs hard to get undergraduates to adopt an open attitude toward work 
by women and more experimental forms," comments Christina Lane. "Most 
of the students ask, 'How is this course going to help me in my career?"' 



Hollywood and assistant professor at the University of 
Miami. She also points out that the problems confronting 
university film programs cannot be blamed solely on budg- 
etary myopia that limits financing the necessary infra- 
structures to support engagement with independent and 
international cinema. Many students come to film school 
ignited not by the love of exploring cinema, but by a lust 
for individual job advancement in the entertainment 
industry. "It's hard to get undergraduates to adopt an open 
attitude toward work by women and more experimental 
forms," comments Lane. "Most of the students ask, 'How is 
this course going to help me in my career?'" 

Faculty from university film programs across the coun- 
try point out that upper administration mandates to fill 
classes to capacity by appealing to student expectations 
often means teaching classes that analyze the contradic- 
tions operating in The Matrix and Toy Story rather than 
organizing a class to dive into unexplored, unsettling terri- 
tory often mapped in independent feminist cinema. Only 
six percent of business for feminist-based independent dis- 
tributor Women Make Movies (WMM) comes from aca- 
demic rentals, a dramatic drop over the last five years, 
according to Director of Marketing Vanessa Domico. The 
company's largest customer base is university librarians. 
WMM offers special package pricing promotions (five for 
$495) to address the declining budget issue. 

Women Make Movies rental statistics belie the myth 
that most film academics are sitting at their computer ter- 
minals footnoting Jean Baudrillard for essays on Lord of the 
Rings. The most popular WMM rentals by academics sug- 
gest that ivory tower taste is not as white and apolitical as 
its professional organizations. Complaints of a Dutiful 
Daughter by Deborah Hoffmann (which addresses 
Alzheimer's Disease), Dialogues with Madwomen by Allie 
Light (mental illness), La Boda by Hannah Weyer (border 
migrant life), La Nouba des Femmes du Mont-Chenoua by Assia 
Djebar (Algeria), Warrior Marks by Pratibha Parmar (female 



cerns about the body, the nation, race, labor, and sexuality 
are entering classrooms, if not conferences. 

But there are even conferences where academics and 
practitioners are finding common ground once again. 
Confronted by an ever-expanding, fragmented, and diverse 
field, many academics fantasize a weekend retreat where 
feminist media scholars and makers could commune to 
watch new work and talk— without formal papers. 
Important summits between scholars and filmmakers have 
materializde over the last two years: The 2002 Encuentro 
de Mujeres y Cine en America Latina meeting in 
Guadalajara, Mexico; the 2002 Germaine Dulac Film 
Retrospective and International Symposium in Frankfurt, 
Germany; and the 2000 Miramar Women Filmmakers 
Summit in California, organized by Alison Anders. The 
Digitalis meeting in Brussels in December 2002 convened 
women from varied national, race, and ethnic back- 
grounds, bringing together intellectual technicians and 
artists for highly galvanizing exchanges. And even more 
firmly rooted in academia, the prestigious feminist journal 
Signs is planning a special issue on the future of feminist 
film theory, featuring an exchange between B. Ruby Rich 
and Rosa Linda Fregoso. 

Feminist film in the academy has not only surged 
beyond the male gaze, it's entered into the next generation 
of younger scholars who not only were schooled in femi- 
nist theory as undergraduates, but grew up during an era 
of independent film expansion around the globe. And they 
are importing this culture and experience into universities 
and films. "We're seeing a new, fresh, but well-seasoned 
academic: very smart, very savvy, and very much in sync 
with both the current political climate but also how that 
translates to film," Domico says. "It truly is very inspiring 
to work in this industry and have the type of environment 
that this collaboration fosters surrounding you." D 

Patricia Zimmermann is a professor of cinema and photography at 
Ithaca College. Her most recent book is Stares of Emergency. 



March 2003 | The Independent 53 



Essential Reading List in Feminist Media 

By Sharon Lin Tay 

Feminist media criticism and theory is a large, growing, and polymorphous field of study. These books explore its his- 
torical, political, and critical developments. They look at feminist works within the Hollywood system, in independent 
media sectors, international cinemas, and cyberspace. Most significantly, this list registers the expansion of the field 
through its embrace of internationalism, multiculturalism, and diverse sexualities. 



Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of 
Early Hollywood, by Cari Beauchamp (University of California 
Press, 1 997) http://ucpress.edu; $1 9.95. Study of Frances Marion, 
Hollnvood's highest paid scriptwriter from 1910's to 1940's. 

Black Women Film and Video Artists, by Jacqueline Bobo 
(Routledge, 1998) www.routledge-ny.com; $24.95. Collection of 
essavs on African American women directors that traces a distinct 
historical and critical trajectory. 

Multiple Voices in Feminist Film Criticism, edited by Diane 
Carson, Linda Dittmar, and Janice R. Welsch (University of 
Minnesota Press, 1994) www.upress.umn.edu; $22.95. 

Anthology of feminist discourses of the cinema, including a sec- 
tion for teachers of feminist film criticism and theory. 

Femme Fatales: Feminism, Film Studies, and Psychoanalysis, 
by Mary Ann Doane (Routledge, 1991) www.routledge- 
ny.com; $28. Noted feminist film theorist's essays on psycho- 
analysis, feminism, and theories of spectatorship and sexual 
difference in cinema. 

The Bronze Screen: Chicana and Chicano Film Culture, by Rosa 
Linda Fregoso (University of Minnesota Press, 1993) 
www.upress.umn.edu; $15.95. Study on contemporary Chicano 
cinema emphasizing gender and ethnicity. 

Between the Sheets, In the Streets: Queer, Lesbian, Gay 
Documentary, edited by Chris Holmlund and Cynthia Fuchs 
(University of Minnesota Press, 1997) www.upress.umn.edu; 
$21.95. Anthology of essays on queer cinema, social activism, and 
the documentary film. 

The Women's Companion to International Film, by Annette Kuhn 
and Susannah Radstone (University of California Press, 1990) 

out of print. Invaluable reference book to women and film. 

Feminist Hollywood: From Born in Flames to Point Break, by 
Christina Lane. (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2000) 
http://wsupress.wayne.edu; $19.95. Study of women directors 
who work in Hollywood and independent film. 

Romance and the Yellow Peril: Race, Sex, and Discursive 
Strategies in Hollywood Fiction, by Gina Marchetti (University 
of California Press, 1993) http://ucpress.edu; $19.95. Study 
of racial discourses in Hollywood cinema with an emphasis on 
the construction of the Orient. 

Fetishism and Curiosity, by Laura Mulvey (British Film Institute 
and Indiana University Press, 1996) www.indiana.edu/~iupress; 
$1 9.95. A pioneering feminist film theorist's work anthology. 

Feminism and Film Theory, by Constance Penley (Routledge, 
1988) www.routledge-ny.com; $24.95. One of the few definitive 
anthologies on feminist film theory to emerge in the 1980's. 



The New Latin American Cinema: A Continental Project, by 
Zuzana M. Pick (University of Texas Press, 1 993) out of print. 

Study of the New Latin American Cinema movement, from its 
emergence in the 1960's to its acquisition of artistic and politi- 
cal prominence. 

technics of cyberOfeminism<mode=message>, Ed. Claudia 
Reiche and Andrea Sick (Thealit, 2002) www.thealit.dsn.de; 15 
euros (approx. $1 6.24). Reader of the major texts and polemics of 
cyberfeminism and new technologies. 

Chick Flicks: Theories and Memories of the Feminist Film 
Movement, by B. Ruby Rich (Duke University Press, 1998) 
www.dukeupress.edu; $19.95. Collection of Rich's film criti- 
cisms, contextualised with reflections on the feminist film move- 
ment of the 1970's and 1980's. 

St. James Women Filmmakers Encyclopaedia: The Women on 
the Other Side of the Camera, (Visible Ink, 1999) http://visible 
ink.com; $24.94. Reference book of women filmmakers with 
short critical essays, filmography, and biographical details. 

Keyframes: Popular Cinema and Cultural Studies, by 
Matthew Tinkcom and Amy Villarejo (Routledge, 2001) 
www.routledge-ny.com; $24.95. Anthology of essays on cine- 
ma cultural studies approach. 

Woman, Native, Other: Writing Post-coloniality and Feminism, 
by Trinh T. Minh-Ha (Indiana University Press, 1989) 
www.indiana.edu/~iupress; $16.95. Interdisciplinary work of 
noted theorist, activist, and filmmaker that marks the conflu- 
ence of ethnicity, femininity, and post colonial construction of 
these identities for the ethnic woman artist. 

Shooting to Kill: How an Independent Producer Blasts Through 
the Barriers to Make a Movie that Matters, by Christine Vachon 
and David Edelstein (Quill, 1998) $12.95. Independent producer 
of numerous successful queer films shares her experiences. 

Feminism and Documentary, edited by Diane Waldman and 
Janet Walker (University of Minnesota Press, 1999) 
www.upress.umn.edu; $1 9.95. Anthology on the implications of 
feminist perspectives on the documentary mode. 

The Fruit Machine: Twenty Years of Writing on Queer Cinema, 
by Thomas Waugh (Duke University Press, 2000) www.duke 
upress.edu; $18.95. Collection of key writings on queer cine- 
ma from the late 1970's onwards. 

States of Emergency: Documentaries, Wars, Democracies, 
Patricia R. Zimmermann (University of Minnesota Press, 2000) 
www.upress.umn.edu; $19.95. A study on the political economy 
that seeks the privatization of film and media culture, and the 
implications for experimental and independent filmmaking. 

— Sharon Lin Tay is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of East Anglia. 



54 The Independent | March 2003 



legal 



Strange Bedfellows 

WHAT A PRODUCER'S LAWYER SAYS ABOUT HER 
By Anne C. Baker 



irectors, screenwriters, or 
other creative persons, 
when negotiating a deal 
with a producer or produc- 
tion company for their work and tal- 
ents, obviously want the best in terms 
of what can be obtained in rights, 
money, credit, etc. But equally (and 
frequently more) important is getting 
a better idea of who the producer is— 
what is the producer's reputation and 
track record, and what is he or she like 
to work with? The producer will affect 
the creative person's work process, the 
quality of the final project, and possi- 
bly the reputation and career of the 
creative person. Thus, it is essential to 



ing, luring, and flattering— develop- 
ing and establishing mutual interest. 
At this stage, the creative person 
should do his or her homework: Pick 
everyone's brains who might know or 
have worked with the producer; find 
out what the producer's track record 
is; find out if the producer has the 
means and relationships to actually 
bring the project to completion. If the 
producer is established in the indus- 
try, these things should not be diffi- 
cult to find out. Since many produc- 
ers move into film from other fields, 
investigating an unproven producer's 
business past is advisable. Internet 
searches, trade publications, and pro- 



and often whether or not the deal 
happens at all. Professional listings, 
the lawyer's credentials, law firm web- 
sites, and word-of-mouth comments 
are all important sources of informa- 
tion for finding the right lawyer. As 
with the producer, you will need to do 
your homework when choosing a 
lawyer: Make an appointment for a 
face-to-face meeting to observe and 
assess the lawyer's style, personality, 
ego, and integrity. You must ask ques- 
tions: Who are the lawyer's other 
clients? What are his or her special- 
ties? How long has he or she been 
practicing entertainment law? What 
will the financial arrangements be? Of 
course, the lawyer's expertise and spe- 
cialized knowledge of the deal are 
essential, but you also need to assess 
the lawyer's ability and willingness to 
draw out, listen to, and really hear 
your priorities. Your lawyer is the filter 
through which you can further assess 



Tough negotiations can be expected, posturing 

can be expected, but a "pit bull" approach 

(bullying, threats, insults, or devious, erratic, 

and contradictory behavior) on the part of the 

producer's lawyer is altogether different. It may be 

indicative of the producer's modus operandi. 




know as much as possible about who 
the producer is before entering into an 
agreement for a creative project. 
Unlike many other deals (e.g., one for 
the sale of property involving primari- 
ly the transfer of the property and the 
payment for it), a deal which relates to 
a creative project involves an ongoing 
interaction and relationship between 
the parties— a creative partnership or 
at least a creative coexistence between 
the parties after signing the agree- 
ment—one which, ideally, should 
include respect and trust. 

During the initial courtship, before 
the negotiations really begin, both 
parties usually engage in mutual sell- 



fessional organizations are good 
sources of information. Remember, 
people don't change their behavior 
and ethics just because they change 
industry. You, the creative person, 
must ask some important questions 
before you begin negotiating with a 
producer: What kind of financing has 
the producer obtained in the past? 
What was it like working with the 
producer? Was a creative dialogue 
possible? How did his or her other 
projects work out in the end? 

Since your lawyer is your represen- 
tative, negotiator, advisor, and guide, 
choosing the right lawyer is central to 
how the deal is made and structured, 



the producer you will be working with 
if, the deal goes through. Knowing 
your lawyer and how he or she thinks 
is an important part of being able to 
make intelligent judgments and deci- 
sions during the negotiations. 

You, as the creative element in the 
project, should stay actively involved 
in the negotiations: Confer with your 
lawyer, ask questions, challenge ideas 
and assumptions. It is at this time 
that, through your lawyer, you have a 
further opportunity to really get to 
know the producer; to learn how the 
producer behaves; to observe what 
tactics he or she or the lawyer uses 
when business is being conducted; to 



March 2003 j The Independent 55 



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assess whether there is a climate of 
respect; whether consideration is 
given to reasonable requests (even if 
the request is not granted in the end); 
and ultimately, to determine whether 
or not the producer is someone you 
continue to believe in and want to 
work with. Just as your lawyer should 
represent your values and thinking, so 
do producers' lawyers reflect their 
clients' attitudes and ideas. 
Remember that the style, strategies, 
and negotiating methods of the pro- 
ducer's lawyer may well reflect the 
overall style, methods, and integrity of 
the producer. 

Tough negotiations can be expect- 
ed, posturing can be expected, but a 
"pit bull" approach (bullying, threats, 
insults, or devious, erratic, and contra- 
dictory behavior) on the part of the 
producer's lawyer is altogether differ- 
ent. It may be indicative of the pro- 
ducer's modus operandi, and you 
should be alert to tactics such as: fre- 
quent temperamental outbursts; 
changes of position and denials of 
such changes; telephone hang-ups; 
dragging out negotiations (resulting 
in escalation of legal fees for the cre- 
ative person and potentially causing 
loss of professional opportunities); 
unwillingness to negotiate the deal as 
a whole, but rather only in pieces; over 
negotiating; unwillingness to compro- 
mise on minor issues; threats to walk 
away from the deal over minor points; 
imposing imminent and arbitrary 
deadlines; retractions of offers; and 
insistence on tough negotiations of 
standard terms. 

If the producer has a known and 
successful reputation, "bad" negotiat- 
ing behavior is not likely to outweigh 
the prospects that a prestigious pro- 
ducer can offer. The creative person 
wants, almost above all, to get a deal 
and to get his or her work in front of 
the public. But bad behavior during 
negotiations may still indicate prob- 
lems that lie ahead. You should under- 
stand that you may be getting into a 
situation in which the producer will 



treat you exactly as his or her lawyer is 
now treating yours. 

An overly aggressive approach on 
behalf of a producer with no signifi- 
cant reputation should be viewed as 
suspect, even if that producer is clear- 
ly well funded. Although money 
speaks, it doesn't always speak the 
loudest. If a producer's representative 
overreaches, misrepresents, or engages 
in erratic, devious negotiating tactics, 
they are even more likely to be symp- 
tomatic of the personality and behav- 
ior of the producer. To some extent, 
your lawyer can protect you from the 
politics and positioning of the negoti- 
ation, but, as the client, you need to 
know about any major problems 
before agreeing to be legally bound to 
the producer. You will want to be able 
to build a productive relationship 
with a producer, and bad behavior 
during negotiations may make this 
impossible. You may not want to take 
a chance with a producer who engages 
in such tactics. 

At a certain point during acrimo- 
nious negotiations, a director or 
writer who is offered a good financial 
deal and other acceptable terms with 
real potential may still decide: "No, I 
don't want to go forward, it's just not 
worth it. I believe in my work and I no 
longer trust the producer to respect 
its integrity." Most creative people at 
some time in their career will be faced 
with this extremely difficult decision: 
How much can I swallow for the 
chance— never the guarantee— to see 
my work "go public?" 

The potential for getting the film 
made is exciting and seductive, but 
the potential of being involved with a 
disrespectful, untrustworthy produc- 
er in a creative endeavor for a signifi- 
cant period of time and becoming 
bound in a soured relationship can 
(and often should) shift the balance 
and blow the deal! D 

Anne Baker is an entertainment 

attorney and a partner the firm Cowan, 

DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP. 



56 The Independent | March 2003 




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VIDEO AND FILMMAKERS 



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technology 



Sending Video into 
the Wide Wired World 

CHOOSE THE RIGHT COMPRESSION 
SOFTWARE FOR YOUR VIDEO OR FILM 
By Greg Gilpatrick 



After years of saving 
money, finding the best 
crew, and refining your 
filmmaking skills, you 
finally produce the short film that 
will prove your talent as a filmmaker. 
Unable to wait for festivals or other 
distribution, you want to share your 
work with the world immediately by 
putting the movie on the web. But 
what ends up online is not your beau- 
tiful 16mm film, but something the 
looks like it was shot with a 



processes for compressing audio and 
video that the independent maker can 
pick up without having to have a 
degree in engineering. 

The biggest limitation to watch- 
able video on the internet is band- 
width, the potential amount of data 
that can be transferred between 
points of the internet. Digital video 
files require a huge amount of band- 
width since they are very large. A 
five-gigabyte file may not seem like 
much, now that computers come 



ate a large, slow-to-download file that 
looks good, or a small, quick file that 
looks degraded, but quality compres- 
sion is a balance between squeezing 
the file size and still retaining the 
qualities of the image and sound that 
make the clip worth watching in the 
first place. 

At the most basic level, compres- 
sion is a manipulation of video data 
files using software that reduces 
redundancies within them. But in 
practice, the successful compression 
of video starts earlier, when a com- 
pressionist changes the aesthetic 
characteristics of a clip to make it 
look better once it's been treated 
with the encoding software. These 
steps include blurring, color correc- 
tion, and cropping. Ideally, compres- 
sion will factor in earlier in the pro- 
duction of web-destined video, 
because there are shooting tech- 
niques that are helpful to the encod- 



Compression is not just a simple shrinking process ... it is a field 
that draws upon both aesthetic and technical skills to deliver the 
smallest file that still retains the quality of the original media. 



PixlVision camera with a shattered 
lens; the actors' performances now 
sound like police walkie-talkies; and 
it still takes twenty minutes to down- 
load the whole thing. 

This example may be a little 
extreme, but it's not that far from 
what many filmmakers experience 
when putting their films on the web— 
the internet's promise of widespread 
distribution comes at a price of image 
and sound quality. Still, the internet 
does hold great promise as a way to 
share video with collaborators, 
friends, and a worldwide audience, 
but one must first master the com- 
plexities of preparing media for the 
internet— a process called compres- 
sion. The last few years have seen the 
development of mature tools and 



standard with hard drives of twenty 
gigabytes or more, but the internet 
moves data like a dripping faucet, 
compared to the reservoir of your 
computer's hard drive. The typical 
home user, even with a DSL or cable 
connection, does not have nearly 
enough bandwidth to download a 
full-screen, high-quality video with 
little compression. To solve this 
problem, video files need to be com- 
pressed so that they are small 
enough to download and play on a 
user's computer. 

Compression is not just a simple 
shrinking process, though; it is a field 
that draws upon both aesthetic and 
technical skills to deliver the smallest 
file that still retains the quality of the 
original media. It is fairly easy to cre- 



ing process, such as shooting on a tri- 
pod instead of handheld. 

Once a video's image has been 
altered, the process of compressing the 
video file's data is accomplished with 
codec software. A codec —which stands 
for COmpressor/DECompressor— is a 
piece of software that analyzes the data 
of a video file and reduces redundan- 
cies within it. A codec is usually a piece 
of a larger video format. For example, 
the Sorenson Video codec is a piece of 
the QuickTime format. Most 
QuickTime-format video on the web is 
encoded with the Sorenson codec. 

Codecs and the science of data com- 
pression are not easy topics for 
most filmmakers to comprehend. 
Fortunately, compression software 
takes care of much of the difficult 



March 2003 | The Independent 57 



Cleaner 6 

Mac OS 9, Mac OS X (Cleaner 5 is the current 
release for Windows users) 

S599 • Discreet— www.discreet.com 

As the first one-stop solution for video compressionists, 
Cleaner has been part of the broadband media scene since 
before most people had e-mail. The latest version, Cleaner 6, 
focuses on the tasks vital to compressionists by honing the 
program's core tools and features. Instead of flashy new fea- 
tures, Cleaner 6 brings a refined interface, improved per- 
formance, and a few new tools that will make the program 
more useful for the people who use it on a regular basis. 

Cleaner is a technical and utilitarian tool that baffles most 
filmmakers when they first see it. The whole concept of this 
program is based on the fact that digitized video files need to 
be altered and shrunk-compressed-before being delivered 
to computers for viewing. Video compression is certainly an 
important task for anyone who needs to distribute profes- 
sional-looking videos to computers, but 
it's not exactly a subject to make the 
hearts of filmmakers pound with thoughts 
of creative potential. So through the 
years, Cleaner's various owners-Discreet 
is the third company to sell Cleaner-have 
added features to make each release 
appeal to buyers. Video capture from DV 
cameras was one such feature tacked on 
to make Cleaner seem more powerful. 
Realistically, hardly anyone used the pro- 
gram to capture video-video for com- 
pression usually comes after it has 
already gone through a whole postpro- 
duction cycle, not right out of the camera. 
Cleaner 6 removes such redundant fea- 
tures in order to return to the program's 
roots, focusing on video and audio compression. The result is 
a clean and direct interface that is easier to manage and does 
its job well. With fewer features to worry about, the Cleaner 
engineering team has made the program's core compression 
duties faster and more intuitive to control. 

One cool thing about Cleaner's one-stop solution to 
encoding video is that it allows automated encoding of video 
into several formats. Automation and customization are the 
two prime reasons to invest in a compression program, and 
Cleaner 6 makes significant improvements in both areas. The 
automation now includes a feature called "watch folders" that 
allows Cleaner to automatically encode video files saved to a 
folder which it watches. Cleaner also can be set up to auto- 
matically upload files to a web server once it has finished 
compression. These automation features may be hard to 




grasp for the novice compressionist, but they are especially 
important. To give an example, imagine having a piece of 
video that needs to be delivered to several different users 
over the internet and on DVD. By exporting a reference movie 
from your editing program, you can leave Cleaner alone all 
night to compress the files you need without requiring any 
supervision. Cleaner's automation tools are especially helpful 
for people with many pieces of media to compress at once. 
Consider a classroom full of video projects that are turned in 
the same day and all need to be posted to the internet. With 
Cleaner, this process is as simple a copying all the video proj- 
ects to a folder that Cleaner is watching, and coming back a 
few hours later to view the compressed versions. 

Cleaner 6 is the first release to support the new MPEG 4 
media standard. MPEG 4 is an open standard for media over 
the internet, cable television, mobile devices, and other sys- 
tems. Currently, QuickTime 6 is the main way to view MPEG 
4 media, but there will almost certainly be many adoptions of 
the standard across the telecommunications industry. While 
it is nice to see MPEG 4 tools inside 
Cleaner 6, the feature is not particularly 
useful since the standard is so new. In the 
future, MPEG 4 will be a way to deliver 
media that can be played by all media 
architectures, but in the meantime, you 
will get better image quality and smaller 
file size by sticking with the proprietary 
QuickTime settings-which is exactly what 
Cleaner's default is. 

Though I was very happy with my expe- 
rience with Cleaner 6, there were a few 
weaknesses I couldn't help noticing. Most 
notably, the program lacks any kind of 
support for compressing files for the new 
Flash MX video standard. I can't really 
hold it against Cleaner, though, because 
the Flash video standard is so new. (Wildform's Flix 
www.wildform.com is a great encoder for the Flash video 
standard.) Another drawback that isn't really Cleaner's fault is 
the lack of RealVideo encoding in Mac OS X. The fault here 
lies directly with Real, which has not released a RealVideo 
encoding architecture compatible with Mac OS X. RealVideo 
encoding works fine in Mac OS 9 in Cleaner 6. 

Overall, Cleaner 6 is a solid release of an essential pro- 
gram for video encoding. Although I would like to see Flash 
video features in this release, the new focus on improving the 
core feature set, along with support for MPEG 4, make the 
program a solid upgrade for current users and an attractive 
product for people requiring a heavy-duty encoding tool. 
Cleaner 6, being Mac-only, will be especially suited for peo- 
ple distributing QuickTime format media. D 



58 The Independent | March 2003 



work. There are two general types of 
software for video compression: Plug- 
ins and compression features that are 
added to video editing software, and 
specialized compression programs 
designed for people who prepare 
internet media on a regular basis. 
Which is best for you will depend on 
many factors, but mostly on how 
much control you want over your 
compressed media. 

The current versions of most video 
editing programs include some 
export settings suitable for internet 
delivery. These output modules usu- 
ally offer a few simple settings 
designed for the compression novice, 
but they do not offer enough control 
to create a file that both looks good 
and is quick to download. If you 
don't expect many people to view 
your work and don't think they will 
mind waiting a little longer for a 
download, then exporting directly 
from an editing program can be just 
fine. People who expect their work to 
be viewed many times and want the 
best experience for their audience 
will need to consider a separate com- 
pression program. 

There are not many compression 
programs available. The two most 
popular are Cleaner (see sidebar 
review) and ProCoder (Conopus, 
$699). These two serve as one-stop 
programs for encoding all the major 
formats. There are also other pro- 
grams that encode for just one type 
of format, such as RealOne Producer 
for RealVideo, Windows Media 
Encoder for Windows Media, 
Sorenson Squeeze for QuickTime, 
and Wildform Flix Pro and Sorenson 
Sqeeze for Flash MX video. 

Cleaner and ProCoder are designed 
for users who need total control over 
all their encoding settings, and also 
include specialized tools to automate 
the process of compressing many 
clips into different formats and set- 
tings. These programs are a good 
choice if you foresee a need to con- 
stantly encode a large number of 



video clips. If you are planning to 
encode just a few clips, you can get 
away with using one of the cheaper, 
single-format programs. Since those 
programs support only one or two 
formats, find out ahead of time what 
format you will need to distribute 
your film in and then select the 
appropriate software. 

Once you have chosen your encod- 
ing program, you're going to need 
more reference help than any manual 
can provide. The best guidebook is 
Ben Waggoner's Compression for Great 
Digital Video (CMP Books, $49). 
Waggoner claims to be the "world's 
greatest compressionist." I don't 
know if that's the case, but his book is 
a great resource for anyone who would 
want to challenge him for the title. 
The book performs the seemingly par- 
adoxical act of being very readable 
while going into incredible technical 
detail. Wagonner leaves no subject 
untouched and explains such diverse 
topics as how eyes and brains inter- 
pret images, a few notes on informa- 
tion theory, how TV's and VTR's 
work, as well as information about 
preparing video for the internet. 
Although a little pricey, the knowl- 
edge contained inside the book will 
make a huge difference in the quality 
of your online video. 

The process of video compression is 
quite different from filmmaking. 
Don't worry if you feel out of your 
league when trying to prepare your 
media for the web. The best advice I 
can give is to look at what's already 
available on the internet— check out 
the leading vendors of online video, 
and notice the quality and loading 
times of their clips. Experiment with 
your own media, making several ver- 
sions at different settings— which is 
exactly what professional compres- 
sionists do to find the best settings for 
each clip. D 

Greg Gilpatrick is a Brooklyn-based 

filmmaker and consultant. To reach him, 

write to greg@randomroom.com. 



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March 2003 | The Independent 59 



Festivals 

By Bo Mehrad 

Listings do not constitute an endorse- 
ment We recommend that you con- 
tact the festival directly before send- 
ing cassettes, as details may change 
after the magazine goes to press. 
Deadline: 1st of the month two 
months prior to cover date (e.g., April 
1st for June issue). Include festival 
dates, categories, prizes, entry fees, 
deadlines, formats & contact info. 
Send to: festivals@aivf.org. 



INTERACTIVE FESTIVAL 

LISTINGS ARE AVAILABLE 

AT WWWJVIVF.ORG 



DOMESTIC 

ANTELOPE VALLEY INDEPENDENT FILM 
FESTIVAL, May 9-11, CA, Deadline: Feb. 1 
(early); March 1 5 (final). Cats: short, doc, 
experimental. Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm, Beta, 
DigiBeta. Entry Fee: $20 (early); $40 (Final). 
Contact: AVIFF, 3041 West Avenue K, 
Lancaster, CA 93536; (661) 722-6478; fax: 
943-5573; info@aviff.com; www.aviff.com. 

BEG AND GROVEL FILM FESTIVAL, April 25-27, 
SC. Deadline: March 1 ; March 1 5 (late). Cats: 
doc, feature, short, experimental, student, 
Human Rights. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, Beta 
SP, Mini-DV. Entry Fee: $15 (shorts), 
$25 (features); late: $25 (shorts), $35 
(features). Contact: Wade Sellers, Hybrid 
Films, PO Box 1 443, Columbia, SC 29202; 
(803) 929-0066; hybridfilms@hotmail.com; 
www.hybridfilms.org. 

THE BRIDGE FILM FESTIVAL, May 17, NY. 
Deadline: April 1 4. Featuring films by middle- & 
upper school students at Quaker schools world- 
wide. The goal of the test is to promote value- 
based filmmaking on topics that our children & 
communities grapple w/ regularly, such as 
integrity, non-violence, social conscience & 
political justice. The fest is not looking for films 
about Quaker philosophy but rather films that 
depict Quaker ideals in action. From the partici- 
pating schools, finalist films will be chosen & will 
be screened & awards are given based on both 
the quality of filmmaking & content Entries may 
be up to 12 min. in length. Cats: doc, nature, 
v matron, mus r - /kjoo. student, 
short Preview on VHS (NTSC). Entry Fee: $25. 



Contact: Andy Cohen, 375 Pearl Street, 
Brooklyn, NY 11201; (718) 852-1029; fax: 
643-48 68;acohen@ brooklynfriends.org; 
www.brooklynfriends.org/bridgefilm/index.html. 

THE CINDY COMPETITION, fall & spring, CA 
Deadline: Sept. 30, Mar. 31 (late). 
Competition is one of world's longest-run- 
ning audiovisual events. Founded in 1959 to 
honor talents of industrial filmmakers, fest 
now celebrates linear & interactive multime- 
dia. Event held twice/yr. Fall event in San 
Diego, CA; spring in New Orleans, LA. Last 
yr's event drew over 3,700 entries from 29 
countries, particularly in over 100 broadcast 
& nonbroadcast cats. 1 3 regional competi- 
tions worldwide. Regional winners automati- 
cally eligible for final judging for int'l fest. 
Founded: 1959. Cats: feature, doc, short, 
script, experimental, animation, music video, 
student, youth media, children, family, installa- 
tion, any style or genre. Awards: Gold, Silver, 
Bronze & honorable mention awards pre- 
sented, along w/ John Cleese Comedy 
Award, Wolfgang Bayer Cinematography 
Award, Robert Townsend Social Issues 
Award & others. Formats: web, CD-ROM, 
35mm, 16mm, 1/2", DVD. Preview on VHS. 



experimental. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, DV, 
Beta. Entry Fee: $20; $10 (student). Contact: 
CineSol C/0 Galan Inc., 5524 
Bee Caves Rd., Ste B-5, Austin, TX 78746; 
(512) 327-1333 ext.10; fax: 327-1547; 
info@cinesol.com; www.cinesol.com. 

CONNECTICUT GAY & LESBIAN FILM FESTIVAL, 

May 30-June 7, CT. Deadline: March 31. 
Cats: feature, doc, short. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, DVD, Video. Entry Fee: $10 (US); 
$15 (nonUS). Contact: Dan Millett, Film 
Alternatives, PO Box 231191, Harford, CT 
06123; (413) 618-9312; glff@yahoo.com; 
www.ctglff.org. 

COUNCIL ON FOUNDATIONS FILM & VIDEO 

FESTIVAL, April 28, DC. Deadline: March 16. 
The fest showcases films & videos that have 
received the support of foundations & corpo- 
rate giving programs. Cats: Works may be of 
any length, from feature length to brief public 
service announcement. Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: no entry fees. Contact: Evelyn 
Gibson, 1828 L St. NW Suite 300, 
Washington, DC 20036; (202) 467-0471; 
fax: 785-3926; gibse@cof.org; www.cof.org. 



The Art of Hype 



14 V PEE A unic l ue concept in the crowded field of film festivals, 

Hypefest aims to bridge the gap between filmmakers 
and the commercial community by screening shorts, 
commercials, and music videos, as well as organizing a 
screenplay competition. The newly launched fest will 
take place in Hollywood, CA, over two days that promise to showcase a 
diverse set of works from emerging filmmakers. As festival Co-Director Jessie 
Nagel puts it, "We believe our strength is connecting people, their stories, and 
their business." See listing. 



Entry Fee: Varies w/ format. Contact: Festival, 
Box 250, 57 W Palo Verde Ave., Ocotillo, CA 
92259; (760) 358-7000; fax: 358-7569; 
sheemonw@cindys.com; www.cindys.com. 

CINESOL LATINO FILM FESTIVAL, June 26-July 
26, TX. Deadline: March 1 5. Fest showcases 
the best of Latino Film & Video in a traveling 
four-week fest that literally makes its way 
through South Texas. Held in the Magic Rio 
Grande Valley of Texas, CineSol begins w/ a 
Premiere Weekend Splash on beautiful 
South Padre Island on the Gulf of Mexico, 
where filmmakers converge & interact w/ the 
audience. Cats: feature, doc, short, animation, 



DA VINCI FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, July 18-20, 
OR. Deadline: March 20; April 30 (final). Fest 
is looking for original works not exceeding 
30 min. in length (documentaries can only be 
a max of 60 min.). Founded: 1988. Cats: 
short, any style or genre. Awards: Juried & 
People's Choice Awards given in each cate- 
gory. Formats: film, video, digital. Preview on 
VHS (NTSC only). Entry Fee: college/indie 
$15 (early), $25 (final); K-12 $5 (early), $15 
(final). Contact: Tina Buescher, 2015 SW 
Whiteside Dr., Corvallis, OR 97333; 
(541) 752-5584; davincifilmfest@aol.com; 
www.davinci-days.org; fax: 754-7590. 



60 The Independent | March 2003 




DAHLONEGA INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, June 26-29, 
GA. Deadline: April 1 5. Festival offers under- 
exposed film & video makers in emerging 
digital formats a higher profile venue. Cats: 
15 cats (see website). Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, Super 8, DV. Preview on VHS, Entry 
Fee: $10-$50. Contact: Barry Norman, 661 
Windcroft Circle, Acworth, GA 301 01 ; (404) 
885-4410; fax: 885-0700; info@diff.tv; 
www.diff.tv. 

HOT SPRINGS DOC FILM FESTIVAL, October 1 0- 
1 9, AR. Deadline: March 28; April 25 (late). 
Annual test accepting nonfiction film submis- 
sions for one of the country's premier nonfic- 
tion film celebrations. Non-competitive fest 
honors films & filmmakers each yr. in beautiful 
Hot Springs Natl Park, Arkansas. More than 
70 films are screened, incl. the current year's 
Academy Award nominees in nonfiction cats. 
Special guest scholars, filmmakers & celebri- 
ties participate in forums & lectures. Founded: 
1 992. Cats: doc. Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm, 3/4", 
1/2", DVD, DV, Mini Dv. Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: $25. Contact: Melanie Masino, 
HSDFI, Box 6450, Hot Springs, AR 
79102; (501) 321-4747; fax: 321-0211; 
hsdff@docufilminst.org; www.docufilminst.org. 

HYPEFEST, July 25-27, CA Deadline: Feb 1 3; 
April 30 (final). Fest accepting short films (50 
min. or less), commercials, music videos & 
promos for competition screening. Only 
works completed in the current or previous 
yr. eligible. Cats: short, music video, commer- 
cials. Preview on VHS (NTSC) or DVD. Entry 
Fee: $35, $20 (student w/ ID); Final: $45, 
$30 (student). Contact: Festival, 5225 
Wilshire Blvd., Ste 403, Los Angeles, CA 
90036; (323) 938-8363; fax: 938-8757; 
info@hypefest.com; www.hypefest.com. 

INT'L FAMILY FILM FESTIVAL, May 16-22, CA. 
Deadline: April 1 1 . Formerly the Santa Clarita 
Int'l Film Festival, IFFF is rapidly becoming 
Southern California's premier showcase for 
independently-produced socially-responsible 
film entertainment. Founded: 1994. Cats: 
script, feature, doc, short, animation, student, 
youth media, family, children, educational. 
Formats: 1/2", Beta SP, 35mm. Preview on 
VHS ONLY. Entry Fee: film $80/$40, 
screenplay $60/$45. Contact: Patte Dee, 
PO Box 801507, Santa Clarita, CA, US 
91380; (661) 257-3131; fax: 257-8989; 
www.sciff.org; patted012@aol.com. 

LOS ANGELES LATINO INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, 

July 1 8-27, CA. Deadline: April 1 4. LALIFF is 
dedicated to presenting the diversity & qual- 



ity of Latino films made in the US, Spain, 
South America, Mexico & the Carribean. A 
competitive fest, LALIFF establishes a plat- 
form to accomplish many goals, the most 
important of which is giving filmmakers an 
opportunity to present their films in 
Hollywood, meet potential distributors, net- 
work w/ studios & learn new technology. 
Founded: 1997 Cats: feature, doc, short, ani- 
mation. Awards: Best Film, Best Screenplay, 
Best Director, Best Doc, Best Short, 
Audience Award. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
3/4" (shorts & docs), 1/2" (shorts & docs), 
Beta (shorts & docs). Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $20 (features), $10 (Docs & shorts). 
Contact: Marlene Dermer, 6777 Holly- 
wood Blvd., Ste. #500, Los Angeles, CA 
90028; (323) 469-9066; fax: 469-9067; 
mdermer@earthlink.net; www.latinofilm.org. 

LUNAFEST, September-October, CA. Deadline: 
April 30. Fest seeks films by women, for 
women, or about women. Proceeds from fest 
will benefit the Breast Cancer Fund to assist 
their efforts to promote awareness & educa- 
tion of womens' health. Films should be no 
longer than 75 min. Cats: short, doc, feature, 
student, family. Awards: Cash prizes. Formats: 
Beta, S-VHS, 1/2". Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: $25 made payable to 
The Breast Cancer Fund. Contact: Allison 
Levy, c/o Clif Bar, 1610 5th St, Berkeley, 
CA 94710; allison@aspiringheights.com; 
www.lunabar.com. 

MADCAT WOMEN'S INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, 

September, CA. Deadline: April 4; June 4 
(late). MadCat showcases innovative & chal- 
lenging works from around the globe. Works 
can be produced ANY year. Founded: 1996. 
Cats: any style or genre. Formats: 35mm, 
1 6mm, super 8, Beta SP, 3/4". Preview on 
VHS (NTSC). Entry Fee: $10-$30 
(sliding scale, pay what you can afford; int'l 
entrants disregard entry fee). Contact: 
Ariella Ben-Dov, 639 Steiner St., 
San Francisco, CA 941 1 7; (415) 436-9523; 
fax: 934-0642; alionbear@earthlink.net; 
www.somaglow.com/madcat. 

MAINE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, July 1 1-20, ME. 
Deadline: March 15 (early); April 30 (final). 
Founded: 1998. Cats: feature, short, doc. 
Awards: Audience Award (Best Feature). 
Formats: 35mm, 3/4", Beta SP, 16mm, S- 
VHS, 1/2", Beta, DigiBeta, DVD. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: $35, $40 (final). Contact: 
MIFF, 10 Railroad Sq, Waterville, ME 
04901; (207) 861-8138; fax: 872-5502; 
info@miff.org; www.miff.org. 



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MARGARET MEAD FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, 

November 7-10, NY. Deadline: March 1 ; April 
5 (late). Premiere US test for nonfiction work, 
with no restrictions on subject, length, or year 
of production. Founded: 1977. Cats: short, 
doc, animation, experimental, student, youth 
media. Awards: no awards; some financial 
assistance and honoraria. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, 3/4", 1/2", Beta. Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: None. Contact: American Museum 
of Natural History, Dept. Education, Central 
Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY 
10024; (212) 769-5305; fax: 769-5329; 
meadfest@amnh.org; www.amnh.org/mead. 

MAUI FILM FESTIVAL, June 11-15, HI. 
Deadline: March 20, April 20 (final). 
Compassionate & life-affirming storytelling in 
exemplary films from any & everywhere on 
Earth. Founded: 1999. Cats: feature, short, 
animation, experimental, children. Awards: 
Silversword Awards, Audience, Feature 
Dramatic, Short, Feature Doc. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, Beta SP, DVD. Preview on 
VHS. No entry fee. Contact: Barry Rivers, PO 
Box 790669, Paia, HI 96779; (808) 579- 
9996 or (888) 999 6330; fax: (808) 
579-9552; mauifilmfest@mauifilmfest.com; 
www.mauifilmfest.com. 

NANTUCKET FILM FESTIVAL, June 19-22, MA. 
Deadline: April 1 1 (film), March 14 (screen- 
play competition). Fest focuses on screen- 
writers & their craft. Cats: any style or genre. 
Awards: Tony Cox Award for Screenwriting 
Competition, Best Writer/Director Award, 
Audience Awards for Best Feature & Short 
Film. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, video. Preview 
on VHS. Entry Fee: $40 (features), $25 
(shorts, 35 min. or less), $1 5 (5 min or less). 
Contact: Jill Goode, 1 633 Broadway, Ste. 1 4- 
334, New York, NY 1 001 9; (2 1 2) 708-1 278; 
ackfest@aol.com; www.nantucketfilmfest.org. 

NEW JERSEY INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, June & July, 
NJ. Deadline: April 4. Annual fest showcases 
the best in independent film & video, featuring 
premiere screenings of award-winning works, 
seminars, panels discussions & guest 
appearances. Max. film age is 24 months, no 
repeat entries. Founded: 1996. Cats: anima- 
tion, short, experimental, feature, doc, any style 
or genre, children, family, youth media, student, 
music video. Awards: $3,000 in cash & prizes. 
Formats: 16mm, 35mm, 3/4", Beta SP, Hi8, 
1/2", S-VHS, DV Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$35-$65. Contact: Rutgers Film Co- 
op/NJMAC, 72 Lipman Drive, New Brunswick, 
NJ 08901; (732) 932-8482; fax: 932-1935; 
njmac@aol.com; www.njfilmfest.com. 



NEW YORK VIDEO FESTIVAL, July, NY. 

Deadline: March 1 0. All work must be original- 
ly produced and/or postproduced in 
video/computer. NY premieres preferred. 
Founded: 1992. Cats: experimental. Formats: 
1/2", 3/4", Beta SP, CD-ROM, Digital. Preview 
on 3/4", 1/2" (NTSC, PAL), CD-ROM (for PC). 
Do not submit preview in Beta. Do not send 
masters; tapes not returned. No entry fee. 
Contact: Sara Bensman, c/o Film Society of 
Lincoln Center, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, 4th 
Fir., New York, NY 10023; (212) 875-5638; 
fax: 875-5636; sbensman@filmlinc.com; 
www.filmlinc.com. 

NEXTFRAME, UFVA's touring festival of inter- 
national student film and video, Oct., PA. 
Deadline: March 31 , May 31 (late). All entries 
must have been created by students enrolled 
in a college, univ., or graduate school at time 
of prod. & should have been completed no 
earlier than May of previous 2 yrs. All works 
prescreened by panel of film/videomakers; 
finalists sent to judges. About 30 works 
showcased each year. All works premiere at 
annual conference of Univ. Film & Video 
Assoc. (UFVA), in July. Year-long int'l tour of 
finalists begins after premiere. Tour travels to 
major universities & art centers across the 
US & around the globe. Past int'l venues have 
incl. Chile, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New 
Zealand, & Portugal. Founded: 1993. Cats: 
doc, experimental, animation. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, Beta SP (NTSC). Preview on 
VHS (PAL/SECAM okay for preview only). 
Entry Fee: $25, $20 (UFVA members & int'l 
entries). Early entries save $5. Con- 
tact: Festival, Dept. Film & Media Arts, 
Temple University 011-00, Philadelphia, 
PA 19122; (800) 499-UFVA; (215) 923- 
3532; fax: 204-6740; nextfest@temple.edu; 
www.temple.edu/nextframe. 

OUTFEST: THE LOS ANGELES GAY & LESBIAN 
FILM FESTIVAL, July 10-21, CA. Deadline: 
March 14 (late). The mission of OUTFEST is 
to build bridges among audiences, filmmakers 
& the entertainment industry through the exhi- 
bition of high-quality gay, lesbian, bisexual & 
transgender themed films & videos, highlight- 
ed by an annual fest that enlighten, educate & 
entertain the diverse communities of Southern 
California. Outfest also offers a weekly 
screening series yr. round, as well as a screen- 
writing lab. Founded: 1982. Cats: feature, doc, 
short, animation, experimental, Formats: 
35mm, 1 6mm, 3/4", 1 /2", Beta SP. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: Features (over 60 min.): $25, 
$35 (late); Shorts: $15, $25 (late). Contact: 
Festival, 3470 Wilshire Blvd, Ste 1022, Los 



62 The Independent | March 2003 



Angeles, CA 90010; (213) 480-7088; 
fax: 480-7099; programming@outfest.org; 
www.outfest.org. 

PORTLAND WOMEN'S FILM FESTIVAL, May 29 

June 1, OR. Deadline: March 31; April 15 
(final). Fest will showcase films & videos 
directed by women from around the US & 
beyond. Fest is open to all subject matter & 
production formats, The goal of POW! Fest is 
to provide a unique screening opportunity for 
emerging female filmmakers. Founded: 
2002. Cats: feature, short, any style or genre. 
Awards: Jury & Audience Awards. Formats: 
16mm, DVD, 1/2", Super 8. Preview 
on VHS. Entry Fee: $25 (shorts, 
under 25 min.), $30 (feature). Contact: 
Zonker Films, 6504 NE 22nd Ave, 
Portland, OR 9721 1; pow@zonkerfilms.com; 
www.zonkerfilms.com. 

REAL TO REEL FILM FESTIVAL, July 17-19. 
Deadline: March 15, April 30 (late). Fest 
encourages independent film artists of all gen- 
res & skill levels to submit their work to this 
int'l competition, which allows students, ama- 
teurs & professionals a chance to exhibit their 
work. Founded: 2000. Cats: doc, short, anima- 
tion, feature, music video, student. Awards: 
Best-of-show in all cats. Formats: 1/2", DVD. 
Entry Fee: $35 (over the age of 1 8), $1 5 (1 8 
& under); late: $50 (over 18) $25 (18 & 
under). Contact: Paul Foster, Cleveland County 
Arts Council, 1 1 1 S. Washington St., Shelby, 
NC 281 50; (704) 484-2787; fax: 481-1 822; 
ccarts@shelby.net; www.realtoreelfest.com. 

SAN ANTONIO UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL, 

June 20-22, TX. Deadline: April 9. Looking 
for features & shorts out of the mainstream. 
Include two-sentence synopsis. Cats: any 
style or genre, doc, short, feature. Awards: 
Grand Prize: Lowrider Bicycle. Formats: VHS. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $20, $30 (late). 
Contact: Adam Rocha, 8030 Callaghan Rd„ 
#61 1 PMB, San Antonio, TX 78230; (210) 
977-9004; info@safilm.com; www.safilm.com. 

SAN DIEGO ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL, October 2- 
5, CA. Deadline: April 15, May 30 (late). 
Annual competitive fest, presented by the 
Asian American Journalists Association of 
San Diego seek short- to feature-length nar- 
ratives, docs, experimental, animation & 
mixed-genre works made by or about Asian 
& Pacific Americans. Entry form avail, from 
website. Cats: feature, doc, experimental, 
animation, mixed genre works, short. 
Awards: Awards incl. Best Feature, Best 
Short, Best Doc, Best Experimental, & Best 



Animation. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, Beta SR 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $15, $25 (late). 
Contact: En+ry Coordinator, c/o Steve Lukas, 
10084 Kaufman Way, San Diego, CA 
92126; (858) 699-2722; info@sdaff.org; 
www.sdaff.org. 

SAN FRANCISCO JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL, July 
25-Aug. 1 2, CA. Deadline: March 1 5. Estab. in 
1980, noncompetitive fest showcases new 
independent American Jewish-subject cine- 
ma & diverse selection of foreign films. Fest 
presents dramatic, doc, experimental & ani- 
mated shorts & features about Jewish history, 
culture & identity. Filmmakers need not be 
Jewish; films selected by subject. 35-40 films 
showcased each yr. Founded: 1981. Cats: 
doc, experimental, animation, feature, short. 
Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm, Beta SR Preview on 
VHS. Contact: Janis Plotkin or Sam Ball, 1 45 
9th Street, Ste. 200, San Francisco, CA 
94103; (415) 621-0556; fax: 621-0568; 
jewishfilm@sfjff.org; www.sfjff.org. 

SHRIEKFEST FILM FESTIVAL, Oct. 11-12, CA. 
Deadline: March 21 (early), Aug. 8 (reg), Sept. 

5 (late). Shriekfest, the annual Los Angeles 
Horror Film Festival held at Raleigh Studios in 
Hollywood. Fest focuses on the horror film 
genre & the work of young filmmakers (18 & 
under). The fest "screens the best independ- 
ent horror films of the year." Cats: feature, doc 
(about the horror genre), short, script, young 
filmmaker (under 18). Awards: Best Young 
Filmmaker, Best Film, Fan Favorite, Scariest 
Film, Best Screenplay, Best Make-up, Best FX. 
Entry Fee: early, $25 (shorts), $35 s(features); 
regular, $35 (shorts), $45 (features), 
late: $45 (shorts), $55 (features). Contact: 
Shriekfest Film Festival, PO Box 920444, 
Sylmar, CA 91392; email@shriekfest.com; 
www.shriekfest.com. 

SPROUT FILM FESTIVAL, May 31 , NY. Deadline: 
March 15. Festival was created to showcase 
film & video related to the field of develop- 
mental disabilities at screening at the 
Metropolitan Museum of Art. Cats: any style or 
genre, feature, doc, short. Entry Fee: $15, $25 
(over 30 min.). Contact: Anthony Di Salvo, 893 
Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025; 
(212) 222-9575; anthony@gosprout.org; 
www.gosprout.org/filmfest.html. 

STONY BROOK FILM FESTIVAL, July 16-26, NY. 
Deadline: April 1 5. Eleven days, fifty screenings 
of features & short films ranging from the best 

6 most exciting foreign, art & popular films to 
world & US premieres of the best independent 
cinema from the US & abroad. Cats: feature, 



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March 2003 | The Independent 63 





short, doc, animation. Awards: Grand Prize, Jury 
Feature, Jury Short, Jury Directing & Audience 
Choice Awards. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $20 (shorts up to 
30 min.), $40 (features over 30 min.). Contact:: 
Patrick Kelly, Stellar Arts Center, Stony Brook 
University, Rm 2032, Stony Brook, 
NY 11794; (631) 632-7234; fax: 632- 
7354; filmfest@stonybrookfilmfest.com; 
www.stonybrookfilmfest.com. 

VIDEOGRAPHER AWARDS, April, TX. Deadline: 
March 14. Event is an awards program to 
honor talented individuals & companies in the 
video production industry. Cats: any style or 
genre. Awards: Awards given for video pro- 
duction & special events video. Formats: S- 
VHS, DVD, 3/4", 1/2", Beta, 
Beta SR CD-ROM. Entry Fee: $40. 
Contact: VA, 2214 Michigan, Ste. E, 
Arlington, TX 76013; (817) 459-0488; 
fax: 795-4949; info@videoawards.com; 
www.videoawards.com. 

INTERNATIONAL 

AFRICA IN THE PICTURE, Sept. 3-14, 
Netherlands. Deadline: April 15. Africa In the 
Picture is one of the oldest African film fests 
in Europe. Held in Amsterdam & a number of 
other cities in the Netherlands, featuring 
works from Africa & the African Diaspora. 
Founded: 1987 Cats: feature, doc, short. 
Preview on VHS PAL/NTSC. No Entry Fees. 
Contact: Sasha Dees, Notorious Film, 207 W. 
102nd Street, #5A, New York, NY 10025; 
(212) 864-5921; deessasha@cs.com; 
www.africainthepicture.nl. 

BRISBANE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, July 29-Aug. 
10, Australia. Deadline: April 8. More than 
200 films, docs, shorts & animations at ven- 
ues across Brisbane. Also adding to the fest 
fever will be the much-anticipated announce- 
ment of the Chauvel Award winner. Past win- 
ners incl. Fred Schepisi, Paul Cox, Gillian 
Armstrong, John Seale, Dr. George Miller & 
Rolf de Heer. Cats: feature, doc, short, ani- 
mation, experimental. Preview on VHS. 
Contact: Third Floor Hoyts Regent, GPO Box 
909, Brisbane, 4001, Australia; 01 1 61 7 
3007-3003; fax: 011 61 7 3007-3030; 
biff@biff.com.au; www.biff.com.au. 

COLOGNE INT'L TELEVISION & FILM FESTIVAL, 

June 20-25, Germany. Deadline: March 15. 
Founded: 1990, Cats: TV, feature, doc, any 
style or genre. Awards: TV Spielfilm Award, 
Phoenix Award, Author Award, Producer 
Award, Casting Award, Formats: 1/2", DVD, 



Betacam. Preview on VHS. No entry fee. 
Contact: Andreas Grabel, Cologne 
Conference GmbH, Im Mediapark 5 b, Koln, 
Germany 50670; 49 221 454 3280; fax: 
454 3289; info@cologne-conference.de; 
www.cologne-conference.de. 

COMEDIA, July 10-20, Canada. Deadline: 
March 31. Comedy feature programming as 
part of Just for Laughs, the Montreal Int'l 
Comedy Festival. Founded: 1999. Cats: 
comedy feature films: incl, animation, mock- 
umentary, spoof, experimental, live action & 
more. Awards: Best Film, Special Jury Prize, 
Audience Award. Formats: 35mm. Preview 
on VHS. No entry fee. Contact: Brent 
Schiess, Jean Guerin, Just for Laughs, 
2101 St-Laurent, Montreal, Quebec, 
Canada H2X 2T5; shorts@hahaha.com; 
www.hahaha.com. 

EAT MY SHORTS, July 10-20, Canada. 
Deadline: April 1. Comedy shorts program- 
ming as part of Just for Laughs, the Montreal 
Int'l Comedy Festival. Founded: 1997. Cats: 
comedy short films (funny, or funny & twist- 
ed), short. Awards: Best Film Jury Prize. 
Formats: Beta, Beta SR Preview on VHS. No 
entry fee. Contact: Katharine Harris, Just for 
Laughs, 2101 St-Laurent, Montreal, Quebec, 
Canada H2X 2T5; shorts@hahaha.com; 
www.hahaha.com. 

FEST INT'L DU DOCUMENTAIRE (MARSEILLE), 

June 27-July 2, France. Deadline: March 1 5. 
Festival is open to every form, past & present, 
of doc film. Cats: doc. Formats: 16mm, 
35mm, Beta SR Preview on VHS. No 
entry fee. Contact: Michel Tregan, 1 4 Allee 
Leon Gambetta, Marseille, 13001; 33 
(0)4 95 04 44 90; fax: 33 (0)4 95 
04 44 91; welcome@fidmarseille.org; 
www.fidmarseille.org. 

FUKUOKA ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL, early July, 
Japan. Deadline: March 31. Cats: feature, 
short, doc, animation, experimental, student, 
music video, any style or genre. Awards; non- 
cash prizes. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, 1/2", 
3/4", S-VHS, Beta SR DV Preview on VHS. 
No entry fee. Contact: Shu Maeda, Hirako 
bldg., 4th fl, 2-4-31, Chuo-ku, Fukukoa, 
Japan 810-0041; 011 81 92 733-0949; 
fax: 81 92 733-0948; faff@gol.com; 
www2.gol.com/users/faff/english.html. 

HUESCA INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, June 5-14, 
Spain. Deadline: April 1. Competitive show- 
case for Spanish & foreign short films has 
aim of "the dissemination of image as a con- 



64 The Independent | March 2003 



tribution to the better knowledge & fraternity 
among the nations of the world." No themat- 
ic restrictions except no films dealing w/ 
tourism or publicity. Entries must be 
unawarded in other tests in Spain, produced 
in the last 2 years & be under 30 min. Of 
approx. 1,000 entries received each year, 
about 200 shown. Founded: 1971. Cats: 
short. Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm. Preview on 
VHS, Beta or DVD (NTSC). No entry fee. 
Contact: Jose Maria Escriche, Apartado 1 74, 
Huesca, Spain 22080; 011 34 9 74 21 25 
82; fax: 21 00 65; huescafest@tsai.es; 
www.huesca-filmfest.com. 

HUNGARIAN MULTICULTURAL CENTER FILM 
AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, July 1 8-22, Hungary. 
Deadline: April 2, Annual test accepts film is 
dedicated to promoting cultural expansion of 
the visual arts between Hungary & the 
United States. Work must be under 30 min. in 
length & completed in past 2 years. Cats: ani- 
mation, feature, short, doc. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Preview on VHS (NTSC), 
incl. SASE for return. Entry Fee: $35. 
Contact: Hungarian Multicultural Center, 
Inc., PO Box 141374, Dallas, TX, US 
75214; (972) 225-8053; fax: 308-8191; 
bszechy@yahoo.com. 

INT'L FILM FESTIVAL CINEMA JOVE, June 14- 
21, Spain. Deadline: April 15. Cinema Jove 
has two cats: Official Int'l Category for 
Videocreation, Electronic Graphics & 
Computer Graphics (open to any videomaker 
born after January 1 , 1 965), & Official Nat'l 
Category for Short Fictions produced on 
video (open to those born or resident in the 
Spanish State, born after Jan. 1, 1969). (Int'l 
Short Film Market takes place in the frame- 
work of the Cinema Jove test.) Founded: 
1985. Cats: short, feature, any style or 
genre. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Preview 
on VHS. No Entry fees. Contact: 
Rafael Maluenda, Festival Director, Calle 
Jeronimo de Monsoriu,19, Valencia, 
Spain 46022; 011 34 96 331 10 47; 
fax: 331 08 05; cinemajove@ivaj.gva.es; 
www.gva.es/cinemajove. 

INT'L FILM FESTIVAL INNSBRUK, June 18-22, 
Austria. Deadline: April 15. Films from & 
about Africa, South America & Asia. 
Founded: 1 992. Cats: feature, doc, short, ani- 
mation. Awards: Tyrol Award; Cine Tirol 
Distributor's Prize; Audience Award; French 
Cultural Institute's Francophone Award. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Preview on VHS 
PAL. Entry Fee: none. Contact: Raimund 
Obkircher, Otto Preminger Institute, 



Museumstrasse 31, Box 704, Innsbruck, 
Austria 6020; 011 43 512 57 85 00-14; 
fax: 01 1 43 512 57 85 00-13; info@iffi.at; 
www.iffi.at. 

INT'L SCIENTIFIC FILM FESTIVAL, Sept. 27-Oct. 
2, Hungary. Deadline: March 31. This fest 
presents film & video works of various gen- 
res which are somehow related to science: 
they deal w/ scientific work & achievements, 
or science plays an important part in their 
plot, language, or manner of interpretation. 
Festival provides free accommodations for 
accepted filmmakers. Cats: doc, short, exper- 
imental, animation. Preview on VHS PAL (not 
returned). No entry fee. Contact: Istvan 
Demeter, Tisza Mozi, Ltd., Templom u. 4., 
Szolnok, Hungary 5000; 36 56 511 270; 
fax: 420 038; tiszamozi@mail.externet.hu; 
www.tiszamozi.hu. 

JERUSALEM INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, July 10- 
19, Israel. Deadline: April 18. Founded: 
1984. Cats: feature, short, retro, doc, 
experimental. Awards: Wolgin Awards 
for Israeli cinema, Lipper Award for best 
Israeli script, Wim van Leer Award (int'l 
competition), Mediterranean Cinema 
Award, Films on Jewish Theme Award 
(int'l comp.). Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
3/4", 1/2". Preview on VHS. No entry 
fee. Contact: Lia van Leer, Box 8561, 
Derech Hebron, Jerusalem, Israel 91083; 
01 1 9722 565 4333; fax: 01 1 9722 565 
4333; fest@jer-cin.org.il; www.jff.org.il. 

MELBOURNE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, July 23- 

Aug. 10, Australia. Deadline: March 22 
(shorts), April 1 4 (features). Established in 
1952, the Melbourne Int'l Film Festival is the 
oldest established Film Festival in the 
Southern Hemishphere & one of Australia's 
oldest running arts events. Screened in some 
of Melbourne's most celebrated cinemas & 
theaters, the festival comprises an eclectic 
mix of outstanding filmmaking from around 
the world. The festival is a showcase for the 
latest developments in Australian & int'l film- 
making, offering audiences a wide range of 
features & shorts, encompassing fiction, doc- 
umentaries, animation & experimental films 
w/ a program of more than 350 films from 
over 40 countries. Highlights incl. the Int'l 
Short Film Awards, spolights on filmmakers, 
genres & retros. Founded: 1952. Cats: fea- 
ture, doc, animation, experimental, student. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta SP, DVD. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $40 (short films 
only). Contact: Brett Woodward, Box 2206, 
Fitzroy Mailing Center, Fitzroy, Australia 



3065; 011 61 3 417 2011; fax: 61 
341 73804; miff@melboumefilmfest.com.au; 
www.melbournefilmfest.com.au. 

MILANO INT'L GAY & LESBIAN FILM FESTIVAL, 

May 28-June 3, Italy. Deadline: April 20. The 
largest event of public screenings of lesbian 
& gay films in Milan. Founded: 1985. Cats: 
feature, doc, short, experimental. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, Beta (PAL only), U-matic 
(NTSC/PAL), 1/2"(NTSC/PAL). Preview on 
VHS (NTSC, PAL, or SECAM). No entry fee. 
Contact: Giampaolo Marzi, C/O MBE 209, 
Via Del Torchino 12, Milano, Italy 20123; 
011 39 023 319 118; fax: 39 0272 
002 942; marzig@energy.it; www.cinema 
gaylesbico.com. 

PESARO FILM FESTIVAL, June 20-28, Italy. 
Deadline: March 31. Annual test's "New 
Cinema" program. Production req. Italian pre- 
miere, completion after Jan. 1 of previous 
year. If not English or French spoken or sub- 
titled, enclose dialogue list in either language. 
Founded: 1964. Cats: feature, short, doc, 
experimental, animation features, fiction, non- 
fiction. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, U-matic, 
Betacam. Preview on VHS. No entry fee. 
Contact: Fondazione Pesaro, Nuovo Cinema, 
Via Villafranca 20, Rome, 00185, Italy; 39 06 
445 66 43; 49 11 56; fax: 49 11 63; 
pesarofilmfest@mclink.it; www.pesarofilmfest.it 

REVELATION PERTH INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, June 
19-29, Australia. Deadline: April 11. 
Austrailia's major alternative film fest. Fest 
seeks to bring to Oz the best in maverick 
spirit & individual filmic style. Founded: 1 998. 
Cats: Doc only for 2001, feature, doc, short, 
animation, experimental, music video, stu- 
dent. Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm, Betacam SP, 
Beta SP, 1/2", DVD. Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: $33. Contact: Richard Sowada, 
PO Box 135, Sth Fremantle, WA, 
Australia 6162; 011 61 8 9335 2991; 
fax: 61 8 9335 1589; admin@revelationfilm 
fest.org; www.revelationfilmfest.org. 

VILA DO CONDE INT'L SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, 

June 29-July 6, Portugal. Deadline: April 15. 
Annual fest accepting films under 60 min. pro- 
duced in the previous 2 yrs. Founded: 1993. 
Cats: short, doc, animation, any style or genre, 
experimental. Formats: 1 6mm, 35mm, Beta 
SP. Preview on VHS. No entry fee. Contact: 
Mario Micaelo, Auditorio Municipal, Praca da 
Republica, Vila do Conde, Portugal 4480- 
715; 011 351 252 646 516; test® 
curtasmetragens.pt; www.curtasmetragns.pt. 



March 2003 | The Independent 65 



Films/Tapes 
Wanted 

By Charlie Sweitzer 

Noncommercial notices and screen- 
ing opportunities are listed free of 
charge as space permits. Commercial 
notices are billed at classified rates. 
The Independent reserves the right to 
edit for length and makes no guaran- 
tees about duration of listing. Limit 
submissions to 60 words and indicate 
how long your information will be cur- 
rent Listings must be submitted to 
notices@aivf.org by the first of the 
month two months prior to cover date 
(e.g., April 1 for June issue). Listings 
do not constitute an endorsement by 
The Independent or AIVF. We try to be 
as current and accurate as possible, 
but nevertheless: double-check 
details before sending. 

DISTRIBUTION 

CALLING ALL INDEPENDENT FILM-MAKERS. 

Submit your film to hundreds of distributors for 
acquisition. Promote your film to 30,000 in the 
independent film community. Starting at $99. 
More information at http://www.tapelist.com. 

EDUCATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR SEEKS VIDEOS 

on guidance issues such as violence, 
drug prevention, mentoring, children's health 
& parenting for exclusive distribution. Our 
marketing gives unequaled results! Call Sally 
Germain at The Bureau for At-Risk Youth: 
(800) 99-YOUTH x. 210. 

fanlight PRODUCTIONS 20+ years as an 
industry leader! Join more than 100 award- 
winning film & video producers. Send us your 
new works on healthcare, mental health, 
aging, disabilities, and related issues. (800) 
937-41 13; www.fanlight.com. 

NEW DAY films seeks energetic 
independent film and videomakers with 
social issue docs for distribution to non- 
theatrical markets. If you want to maximize 
your profits while working within a remark- 
able community of committed activist film- 
makers, then New Day is the perfect home 
for your film. New Day is committed to 
promoting diversity within our membership 
and within the media we represent. Explore 
our films at www.newday.com, then contact 
Heidi Schmidt at (650) 347-51 23. 



THE cinema GUILD, leading film/video/ 
multimedia distributor, seeks new doc, 
fiction, educational & animation pro- 
grams for distribution. Send video- 
cassettes or discs for evaluation to: 
The Cinema Guild, 130 Madison Ave., 2nd 
fl., New York, NY 10016; (212) 685- 
6242; gcrowdus@cinemaguild.com; Ask for 
our Distribution Services brochure. 

YOUTH-PRODUCED VIDEO. Guaranteed expo- 
sure to tens of thousands, plus royalties to 
sustain your program. Only NoodleHead 
Network distributes videos made with 
kids. Educational videos in all subjects. 
Check out our distributor FAQ at 
www.aivf.org/independent and get your stu- 
dents' voices heard. Tel.: (800) 639-5680. 

MICROCINEMAS • 
SCREENING SERIES 

AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE accepts entries for 
its ongoing program, The Alternative Screen: A 
Forum for Independent Film Exhibition & 
Beyond. Looking primarily for feature films 
w/o wide distribution, but also will consider 
shorts, animation, new media, etc., for other 
programs & showcases. Send 1/2" VHS view- 
ing tape, press kit (any written background 
materials), cover letter w/ contact info & 



West 8th Ave,, Vancouver, B.C. No minors. 
Prizes galore. For more info, call (604) 
730-8090; info@alterentertainment.com; 
www.CelluloidSocialClub.com. 

DEAF & HARD OF HEARING FILM PROGRAM, 

hosted by Film Society of Lincoln Center, 
seeks original films or videos, from 1 -20 min., 
to include w/ monthly screenings of open- 
captioned featured films at Walter Reade 
Theater. Films w/ artistic involvement from 
deaf artists preferred, but not required. 
Seeking original work that can be under- 
stood by deaf audience-dialogue must be 
subtitled. Send 1/2" video copy (nonreturn- 
able) to: The Film Society of Lincoln Center, 
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Film Program, 1 65 
W 65th St., 4th fl., NY, NY 10023; (212) 
875-5638; sbensman@filmlinc.com. 

DIGITAL CAFE SERIES seeks videos (shorts & 
features) ranging from social-issue docs to 
experimental for ongoing biweekly screen- 
ings. Youth-produced videos (20 min. or 
fewer) may also be entered into the Young 
Videomakers Program at the Hamptons Int'l 
Film Festival. VHS only. Send S.A.S.E. if you'd 
like your video returned. For more info, 
contact Emily or Maggie at (845) 485- 
4480; emily@childrensmediaproject.org; 
www.childrensmediaproject.org. 



' ATLANTA 



EDIAMAKERS 



The Many Faces 

of Urban Mediamakers 



ANIMATION • FILM • PRINT • BADIO • TVVIDEO 



Indie Cinema Night is an Atlanta-based monthly 
screening series that seeks short and feature work 
in any genre from filmmakers around the world. But 
Indie Cinema Night is just one of the many thriving 
branches of Atlanta's Urban Mediamakers Association. The quarterly 
Screenwriters Forum gives writers the opportunity to see their scripts read by 
actors in front of a live audience, and the Young Urban Mediamakers program 
teams younger filmmakers with mentors. Most recently, February marked the 
start of the Let the Good Times Roll! lunchtime film series for senior citizens. 
For more info, see the Indie Cinema Night listing. 



S.A.S.E. to: Margot Gerber, The Alternative 
Screen, 1800 N. Highland, Ste. 717, LA, CA 
90028. Tel. (323) 466-3456 x1 1 5; fax (323) 
461-9737; www.americancinematheque.com. 

CELLULOID SOCIAL CLUB is a monthly screen- 
ing series in Vancouver featuring the best in 
independent provocative short & feature 
films & videos followed by fun & frolic. 
Hosted by Ken Hegan at the ANZA Club, #3 



ELECTRIC EYE CINEMA of Madison, Wl, is 
a monthly venue for independent documen- 
tary video features. All net profits from 
screenings redistributed back to participating 
filmmakers. Looking for 30- to 90-min. 
works that are creative, witty, or politically 
conscious. Also looking for shorts 10 
min. or fewer, any genre, to be screened 
at our (unpaid) Open Reel Hour at the 
beginning of each monthly program. Send 



66 The Independent | March 2003 



VHS tapes, summary of film & filmmaker 
bio to: Prolefeed Studios, Brian Standing, 
3210 James St, Madison, Wl 53714; 
www.prolefeedstudios.com. 

FREEDOM FILM SOCIETY, presenter of the 
Red Bank Int'l Film Festival, seeks 
short (45 min. or fewer) & feature-length nar- 
rative, documentary, experimental & 
animated works for monthly screenings 
in NJ. Send preview on VHS (NTSC). 
Entry fee: shorts, $25; features, $45. 
Ph./fax: (732) 741-8089; contact@rbff.org; 
www.rbff.org/entry_form/submit.html. 

INDIE CINEMA NIGHT, presented by the 
Atlanta Urban Mediamakers Association, Inc., 
seeks short & feature-length narrative, docu- 
mentary & child-aimed works of all genres 
for a monthly screening series. Preview on 
VHS, Beta SP, or DVD. Reviews of selected 
works will appear in Urban Mediamakers 
magazine; audience evaluations solicited 
after every screening. No entry fee. Tel. (404) 
287-7758; aumai@urbanmediamakers.com; 
www.urbanmediamakers.com. 

MICROCINEMA'S INDEPENDENT EXPOSURE 

seeks short video, film & digital media submis- 
sions of 1 5 min. or fewer on an ongoing basis 
for the monthly Microcinema screening pro- 
gram. Artists qualify for a nonexclusive distribu- 
tion deal, incl. additional license fees for int'l 
offline & online sales. Looking for short narra- 
tive, alternative, humorous, dramatic, erotic, ani- 
mation, etc. Works selected may continue on to 
nat'l and int'l venues for additional screenings. 
Submit VHS or S-VHS (NTSC preferred) 
labeled w/ name, title, length, phone #, & any 
support materials, incl. photos. Submissions will 
not be returned. Contact: Joel S. Banchar, 
Microcinema International, 531 Utah St., San 
Francisco, CA 941 10; info@microcinemacom; 
www.microcinemacom. 

OCULARIS provides a forum for film & video 
makers to exhibit their work at Brooklyn's 
Galapagos Art & Performance Space. All 
works are considered for programming in our 
weekly series, travelling programs & other 
special projects. Local film/video makers 
can submit works under 15 min. to Open 
Zone, a quarterly open screening. Nat'l/int'l 
works & medium-length works (15-45 min.) 
will be considered for curated group shows. 
For submission guidelines & other info, visit 
www.ocularis.net; shortfilms@ocularis.net. 

OTHER CINEMA, San Francisco's twenty-year- 
old microcinema, accepts submissions of 



experimental film & video, as well as person- 
al nonfiction, of any length for their weekly 
screening series. Please send a VHS 
tape (nonreturnable) to: Other Cinema, 
992 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 
941 10; www.othercinema.com. 

POTHOLE PICTURES, a revitalized 450-seat 
movie house in Shelburne Falls, MA, seeks 
35mm films for "Meet the Director" series, 
which features discussion & reception after the 
screening. Any length or genre. Connection to 
New England through subject matter, locations, 
or hometown of filmmakers helpful but not 
required. Send VHS preview tape to: Fred 
DeVecca, Pothole Pictures, Box 368, Shelburne 
Falls, MA 01370; frogprod@javanet.com. 

SHIFTING SANDS CINEMA is a quarterly 
screening series presenting experimental 
video, film, animation & digital media. Short 
works (under 20 min.) on VHS (NTSC) are 
sought. Incl. synopsis of work, artist bio & 
contract info. Deadline: ongoing. Tapes 
are not returned. Submissions will become 
part of the Shifting Sands Archives & 
will also be considered for curated ex- 
hibitions & other special projects. Contact: 
Shifting Sands Cinema, c/o Jon 
Shumway, Art Dept, Slippery Rock Univ., 
Slippery Rock, PA 16057; (724) 738-2714; 
jon.shumway@sru.edu. 

TINY PICTURE CLUB seeks Super 8 films for 
quarterly, theme-based programs. Films will 
screen on Super 8 & be accompanied by live 
music. Tiny Picture Club is especially inter- 
ested in work from the Portland 
area. Send VHS tape to: Tiny Picture Club, 
6202 SE 17th Ave., PTX, OR 97202; 
www.tinypictureclub.org. 

GALLERIES* 
EXHIBITIONS 

ART IN GENERAL encourages general submis- 
sions for exhibition & residency. Works can 
encompass all media, including site-specific 
installation, single channel video, audio proj- 
ects & window installations. Video work must 
be on VHS (NTSC). Send application (avail- 
able at www.artingeneral.org) along with 
S.A.S.E. & materials to: Future Programs, Art 
in General, 79 Walker Street, New York, NY 
10013. Tel.: (212) 219-0473. 

SPARK CONTEMPORARY ART SPACE is a col- 
lectively run gallery in Syracuse, NY. 
Currently accepting submissions of short 
(fewer than 15 min.) art videos for the next 



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Columbia University's graduate program in filmmaking takes pride in the 
many talented women directors, screenwriters, and producers who have 
earned our M.F.A. degree, including: 



C O L M K I A r X I V E R S I T Y 

SCHOOL 

•"""Arts 

FILM DIVISION 



Alice Arlen- Silkwood, The Weight of Water 

Shari Berman- Off the Menu. The Last Days of Chasen's 

Kathryn Bigelow- K-19: The Widowmaker, The Weight of Water 

Lisa Cholodenko- High Art, Laurel Canyon 

Sabrina Dhawan- Monsoon Wedding 

Nicole Holofcener- Walking and Talking, Lovely and Amazing 

Mo Ogrodnik- Ripe, Molly Gunn 

Katharina Otto- The Need for Speed, Beautopia 

Kim Peirce- Boys Don't Cry 

Sarah Rogacki- Rhythm of the Saints 

Maureen Ryan- Wisconsin Death Trip 

Malia Scotch-Marmo- Once Around, Hook 

Alex Sichel- All Over Me 

Tanya Wexler- Ball in the House 




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programming year (Sep. 2002 to April 2003). 
All types of independent noncommercial 
work is accepted. International & domestic 
submissions are encouraged. All programs 
will be posted on the web & all participating 
artists will be contacted. Accepted 
formats: VHS & DV. Processing fee: $5, 
payable to Jeremy Drummond. Include 
synopsis, bio, CV & contact information. 
S.A.S.E. required for tape return. Send 
to: Video Programmer, Spark Contempor- 
ary Art Space, 535 Westcott St., Apt. 
#2, Syracuse, NY 13210; (315) 422-2654; 
info@jeremydrummond.org. 

UNIVERSITY ART GALLERY at Central Michigan 
University reviews proposals year-round. All 
media considered, incl. 2-D, 3-D, perform- 
ance, video & computer art. Artists interested 
in exhibition at the University Art Gallery 
should send 20 slides, video or disc, resume, 
artist statement & S.A.S.E to: Central 
Michigan University Art Gallery, Art Dept, 
Wightman 132, Mt. Pleasant, Ml 48859. 

SHOWCASES 

CHICAGO COMMUNITY CINEMA features the 
excitement of an annual film festival w/ a month- 
ly extravaganza of a networking test & movie 
showcase. On the first Tuesday of each month, 
short films, trailers, music videos, commercials, 
student films & features of all genres are show- 
cased to an audience of industry professionals. 
Evenings begin w/ a cocktail reception to show- 
case local organizations & provide a 
strong social networking atmosphere before 
the screenings. Submission form available 
at website. Entry Fee: $25. Deadline: ongoing. 
Contact: Chicago Community Cinema, 1 000 N. 
Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60622; (773) 289- 
4261 ; www.ChicagoCommunityCinema.com. 

BROADCASTS • 
CABLECASTS 

SHORT LIST is an int'l showcase of short films 
which airs nat'lly on PBS. Licenses 
all genres, 30 sec. to 25 mins. Produced 
in association with Kodak Worldwide 
Independent Emerging Filmmakers Program 
& Cox Channel 4. Awards 5 Kodak product 
grants annually. Submit on VHS. Appl. form 
avail, on www.theshortlist.ee. Contact: fax 
(619) 462-8266; ShortList@mail.sdsu.edu. 



SEE THESE NOTICES (AND 
MORE) AT WWW.AIVF.ORG 



68 The Independent | March 2003 



Notices 

By Charlie Sweitzer 

Noncommercial notices are listed free 
of charge as space permits. The 
Independent reserves the right to edit 
for length and makes no guarantees 
about duration of listing. Limit sub- 
missions to 60 words and indicate 
how long your information will be cur- 
rent. Listings must be submitted to 
notices@aivf.org by the first of the 
month two months prior to cover 
date (e.g., April 1 for June issue). 
Remember to give us complete con- 
tact info (name, address, and phone 
number). Listings do not constitute an 
endorsement by The Independent or 
AIVF. We try to be as current and accu- 
rate as possible, but nevertheless: 
double-check details before sending 
anyone anything. 

COMPETITIONS 



COLUMBUS SCREENPLAY DISCOVERY 
AWARDS bridge the gap between writers & 
entertainment industry. One screenplay 
accepted monthly to receive rewrite notes 
from script consultant. Awards: 1st place 
$1,500; 2nd place $1,000; 3rd place $500. 
Plus script analysis, film courses & confer- 
ences. Entry fee: $55. Deadline: monthly. 
Contact: Hollywood Columbus Screen- 
play Discovery Awards, 433 North 
Camden Dr., Ste. 600, Beverly Hills, CA 
90210; (310) 288-1882; fax 475-0193; 
awards@Hollywoodawards.com; 
www.HollywoodAwards.com. 

CYNOSURE SCREENWRITING AWARDS, present- 
ed by BroadMind Entertainment, is open to fea- 
ture-length screenplays in two categories: 
scripts w/ female protagonists & scripts w/ 
minority protagonists (male & female). Works 
must not have been previously optioned, pur- 
chased, or produced & must be registered 
w/ the WGA or US copyright office. One 
$2,000 award issued in each category. Entry 
fee: $45, regular (postmarked by April 5); 
$50, late (postmarked by May 3). Tel.: (310) 
855-8730; cynsoure@BroadMindEnt.com; 
www.BroadMindEnt.com. 

SCRIPTAPALOOZA 5TH ANNUAL SCREENWRIT- 
ING COMPETITION awards a first prize of 
$10,000 & screenwriting software for the 3 
winners and 10 runners-up. All 13 winners 
will be considered by Scriptapalooza's 40 out- 



standing participants which include A Band 
Apart, Samuel Goldwyn Films, Film Colony, 
Evolution, Phoenix Pictures, and many more. 
Sponsored by Write Brothers, ScriptMag.com 
and WritersScriptNetwork.com. Regular dead- 
line: March 3, 2003 (entry fee $45). Late 
deadline: April 15, 2003 (entry fee $50). 
www.scriptapalooza.com; (323) 654-5809. 

SHORT FILM SLAM, NYC's only weekly short 
film competition, is looking for submissions. 
Competition on Sundays at 2 p.m. At the end 
of each show the audience votes for a win- 
ning film, which receives further screenings 
at the Pioneer Theater. To enter, must have a 
film, 30 min. or fewer, in a 35mm, 16mm, 
BetaSP, VHS, or DVD format. To submit your 
film, stop by the Pioneer Theater (1 55 E. 3rd 
St.) during operating hours and sign up, or 
get in touch with Jim at (212) 254-7107 or 
jim@twoboots.com. 

CONFERENCES* 
WORKSHOPS 

TAOS WOMEN FILMMAKERS RETREAT 2003 
seeks entries for 10-day retreat (Aug. 24- 
Sep. 3) at Georgia O'Keefe's Ghost Ranch, in 
New Mexico that will focus on digging deeply 
into the stories women filmmakers "really" 
want to tell. Only 20 applicants will be select- 
ed, so apply early. Deadline: Mar. 1 5. Submit 
your script, synopsis, outline & completed 
entry form (see www.tanomediainstitute.com) 
w/ a nonrefundable application check of $50 
payable to S.E.E./Tano Media Institute & mail 
to: Tano Women Filmmakers Retreat/ 
Submissions, 1 1 15 N. Flores St., Suite #10, 
West Hollywood, CA 90069. 

TORONTO DOCUMENTARY FORUM runs from 
April 30 to May 1 and is held in conjunction 
with the Hot Docs Canadian Int'l 
Documentary Festival. The Forum is a co- 
financing market for Canadian & int'l film- 
makers working in the social, cultural & polit- 
ical doc genres. 36 projects will be selected 
for 1 5 min. pitch sessions. Though the dead- 
line for pitching has passed, observer seats 
are available for $295 until Mar. 21. Tel.: 
(416) 203-2155 x228; info@hotdocs.ca; 
www.hotdocs.ca. 

PUBLICATIONS 

FELIX is a journal of media arts & communi- 
cation. The next issue will be edited by Kathy 
High w/ guest editors Ximena Cuevas, 
Roberto Lopez & Jesse Lerner. Entitled 
RISK/RIESGO, it will be the magazine's first 



bilingual issue (in Spanish & English) & will 
ask: What makes work/life/art risky busi- 
ness? What is the gamble? Where is the 
dare, the hazard, the danger? Felix is pub- 
lished by the Standby Program, Inc. Order by 
phone: (212) 219-0951 ; www.e-felix.org. 

OTHERZINE, the e-zine of Craig Baldwin's 
Othercinema.com, seeks written works fewer 
than 1,000 words in length, including inter- 
views, filmographies, alternative histories of 
obscure or marginalized work, criticism & 
theory. Previously published work welcome, 
though work previously published on the 
internet is not eligible. Text for- 
mats: MS Word, ASCII text & HTML. 
Submit to: noellawrence@sprintmail.com; 
www.othercinema.com. 

RESOURCES « FUNDS 

AGAPE FOUNDATION'S DAVID R. STERN 
MEMORIAL FUND offers loans to film projects 
commited to nonviolent social change. 
$3,000 will be loaned for up to three months 
to filmmakers who promote the use of nonvi- 
olence in their work. Applications are due by 
the last business day of each month. (415) 
701-8707; agapefn@sirius.com. 

ALASKA HUMANITIES FORUM awards approx. 
$ 1 00,000 yearly to nonprofit organizations & 
individuals. Grants generally go to projects 
that have an impact in Alaska through their 
subject, focus, analysis, or activities. Radio, 
TV, film, print & other media projects consid- 
ered. Next grant deadline: Apr. 1. For more 
info, call (907) 272-5313; fax (907) 272- 
3979; grants@akhf.org; www.akhf.org. 

ARTHUR VINING DAVIS FOUNDATION provides 
completion funding for educational series 
assured of airing nat'lly on PBS. Children's 
series are of particular interest. 
Consideration will also be given to innovative 
uses of public TV, including computer online 
efforts, to enhance educational outreach in 
schools & communities. Funding for research 
& preproduction is rarely supported. 
Recent production grants have ranged from 
$100,000 to $500,000. Proposal guidelines 
available on website. Contact Dr. Jonathan T 
Howe, Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, 1 1 1 
Riverside Ave., Ste. 1 30, Jacksonville, FL 
32202-4921 ; arthurvining@bellsouth.net; 
www.jvm.com/davis. 

EMEDIAL0FT.ORG CREATIVE PROJECTS GRANT 

provides ongoing fee support for 8 
artists a year w/ creative/fictional narrative 



March 2003 | The Independent 69 



notices 



Now Completely Updated! 

Up-to-date profiles of close to 200 Film & Video 
Distributors. AlVF's Distributors Guide is an established 
source of information and inside views of film and video 
distributors of North America. The Guide is published to 
order, ensuring the most current information available! 

The AIVF Guide to 

Film and Video Distributors 

edited by Rania Richardson; $35 / $25 members 




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Providing the field's best guides 
to self-distribution: 

The AIVF Film and Video Exhibitors Guide 

Profiles of over 800 screening venues in the US: commercial art 
houses to schools to artists' spaces - with complete contact info. 
Kathryn Bowser, ed. ; ©2000; $35/ $25 members 

The AIVF Film and Video Self-Distribution Toolkit 

Interviews with industry professionals and filmmaker case studies 
show how to make a go on your own and come out ahead, 
loannis Mookas, ed. ; ©1999; $30 / $20 members 

. . .or order both Self-Distribution titles for $60 / $40 members 

Other essential resources for independents: 

The AIVF Guide to Int'l Film & Video Festivals Michelle Coe, ed. ; ©2001; $35 / $25 members 
The Next Step: Distributing Independent Films and Videos Morrie Warshawski, ed.; ©1995; $24.95 
The Independent Producers' Outreach Toolkit ©2001 (see www.mediarights.org/toolkit) 

to order, visit WWW.aivf.org or call 212-807-1400 x303 




EAST BAY MEDIA CENTER PRESENTS A CALL FOR ENTRIES 

BERKELEY VIDEO & FILM FESTIVAL 



NORTHERN CALIFORNIAS LARGEST INDEPENDENT FILM 5. VIDEO FESTIVAL 



PRINTABLE ENTRY FORMS & FESTIVAL INFO ON LINE AT: 

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projects who will work 50 hours to 
produce/postproduce digital video w/ 
editor/videographer. Documentaries, political 
& promotional tapes are not covered by this 
grant, but low rates & discounts for all work 
are available. There is no self-use of the 
equipment; grant recipents will work w/ edi- 
tor/videographer. Send 250-200 word proj- 
ect description, resume & S.A.S.E. to Bill 
Creston & Barbara Rosenthal, eMediaLoft, 55 
Bethune St., #A-628, NY, NY 10014-2035. 

FORD FOUNDATION MEDIA, ARTS & CULTURE 
GRANTS fund independent film, video, radio 
& digital media that meets the foundation's 
goals to strengthen democratic values, 
reduce poverty & injustice, promote int'l 
cooperation & advance human achieve- 
ment, tel.: (212) 573-5000; fax: (212) 
351-3677; office-secretary@fordfound.org; 
www.fordfound.org. 

HARBURG FOUNDATION seeks letters of inquiry 
for possible future funding for controversial, 
risky, or innovative projects that use communi- 
cation systems (radio, computer, television, the- 
ater, documentary film, books) to educate & 
inform about serious issues. Preference given 
to new works. Contact Ernie Harburg; (212) 
343-9453; ernie@harburgfoundation.org. 

JEROME FOUNDATION'S MEDIA ARTS PRO- 
GRAM offers production grants ranging from 
$10,000 to $30,000 to emerging NYC 
artists w/ works budgeted up to $200,000. 
Narratives, docs, new media & experimental 
works, as well as radio, interactive formats, 
online programs & virtual reality experiments 
considered. The foundation does not support 
education, exhibition, broadcast, or distribu- 
tion. Contact program officer Robert Byrd.; 
tel.: (651) 224-9431, or toll-free in NY or 
MN only, (800) 995-3766; fax: (651) 224- 
3439; www.jeromefdn.org. 

LOCAL INDEPENDENTS COLLABORATING WITH 
STATIONS (LINCS) FUND is a funding initiative 
from Independent Television Service (ITVS) 
that provides matching funds ($10,000- 
$75,000) for collaborations between public 
TV stations & indie producers. Single shows 
& interstitial pkgs will be considered, as are 
projects in any genre or stage of develop- 
ment. Programs should stimulate civic dis- 
course & break traditional molds of exploring 
complex regional, cultural, political, social, or 
economic issues. Indie film & videomakers 
are encouraged to seek collaborations w/ 
their local public TV stations. Deadline: April 
30, 2003. Guidelines and applications at 



70 The Independent | March 2003 



www.itvs.org, or call Elizabeth Meyer, (415) 
365-8383 x270; elizabeth_meyer@itvs.org. 

NATHAN CUMMINGS FOUNDATION is rooted in 
the Jewish tradition & committed to demo- 
cratic values & social justice, including fair- 
ness, diversity & community. Supporting artis- 
tic projects, including exhibitions & education 
outreach, that provide a deeper understand- 



fee: $25. Deadline: ongoing. Contact: Annie 
Moriyasu, Media Fund, PIC, 1221 Kapi'olani 
Blvd, Ste. 6A-4, Honolulu, HI 96814; 
tel.: (808) 591-0059; fax: 591-1114; 
amoriyasu@piccom.org; www.piccom.org. 

PANAVISION'S NEW FILMMAKER PROGRAM 

donates 1 6mm camera packages to film proj- 
ects, incl. graduate student thesis films, of any 




North to the Future 
of Arts and Humanities 

Since 1972, the Alaska Humanities Forum has sup- 
ported projects that explore the art and culture of 
the United States' northernmost reaches. Each year, 
$1 00,000 is awarded to Alaskan filmmakers and 
artists. Last year's recipients included oral docu- 
mentaries, histories, and museum exhibitions, but 
films, lectures, conferences, research, and many other media which deal with 
Alaska, its people, and its art are considered. For more info, see listing below 
or visit www.akhf.org. 



ing of issues pertaining to health, the envi- 
ronment & Jewish life. Grants range from 
$10,000 to $80,000. For more info, tel: 
(212) 787-7300; www.ncf.org. 

OPPENHEIMER CAMERA provides new film- 
makers w/ access to a fully accessorized Arri 
1 6SR camera package, along w/ instruction 
& technical support. Students, media arts 
center members & unaffiliated independents 
are encouraged to apply. Commercial proj- 
ects, music videos & PSAs not considered. 
Feature-length works are also discouraged. 
Provides camera on year-round basis. 
No appl. deadline, but allow 2 weeks 
minimum for processing, tel.: (206) 
467-8666; fax: (212) 467-9165; 
filmgrant@oppenheimercamera.com; 
www.oppenheimercamera.com. 

PACIFIC ISLANDERS IN COMMUNICATIONS 
(PIC) COMPLETION FUNDS are provided for 
the final preparations of broadcast masters 
of Pacific Island-themed programs intended 
for nat'l public television. Categories: docu- 
mentary, performance, children's & cultural 
affairs programming. PIC is particularly inter- 
ested in projects that examine & illuminate 
realities of Pacific Islander issues such as 
diversity, identity & spirituality. Full-length 
rough cut must be submitted w/ application. 
Must be PBS standard lengths. Awards 
range from $20,000 to $30,000. Application 



genre. Highly competitive. Submit proposals 5 
to 6 months before you intend to shoot. 
Filmmakers must secure equipment & liability 
insurance. Send S.A.S.E. to: New Filmmaker 
Program, Panavision, 6219 DeSoto Ave., 
Woodland Hills, CA 91367-2602. 

PAUL ROBESON FUND FOR INDEPENDENT 
MEDIA solicits projects addressing critical 
social & political issues w/ goal of creating 
social change. Funding for radio projects in 
all stages of production; film & video projects 
in preproduction or distribution stages only. 
Grants range from $3,000-$8,000. 
Deadline: May 15. Contact: Trinh Duong, 
The Funding Exchange, 666 Broadway, 
#500, NY, NY 10012; (212) 529-5300; 
www.fex.org/2.3.3_robeson.html. 

WALLACE ALEXANDER GERBODE FOUNDATION 

supports programs and projects offering 
potential for significant impact w/ a primary 
focus on the SF Bay area & Hawaii. 
Categories of interest include: arts & culture, 
environment, polution, reproductive 
rights & citizen participation/community 
building. Projects must have nonprofit sta- 
tus/fiscal sponsorship. Send letter of in- 
quiry and synopsis to: Thomas C. Layton, 
Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, 
470 Columbus Ave., #209, San Fran- 
cisco, CA 94133-3930; (415) 391-0911; 
http://fdncenter.org/grantmaker/gerbode. 



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E-mail: Javier@visionfilms.com 
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March 2003 | The Independent 71 



Classifieds 

Deadline: First of each month, two 
months prior to cover date (e.g., April 
1 st for June issue). Contact: (21 2) 807- 
1400, x221; fax (212)463-8519; 
classifieds@aivf.org. 

PER ISSUE COST: 0-240 characters 
(incl. spaces & punctuation): $45 for 
nonmembers/$30 for AIVF members; 
241-360 chars: $65/$45; 361-480 
chars: $80/$60; 481-600 chars: 
$95/$75; over 600 characters: Call for 
quote, (212) 807-1400, x241. 

FREQUENCY DISCOUNT: $5 off per 
issue for ads running 5+ times. 

Ads exceding the specified length will 
be edited. Place ad via www.aivf.org/ 
independent/classifieds or type copy 
and mail with the check or money order 
to: FIVF, 304 Hudson St, 6th Fl, New 
York, NY 10013. Include billing address, 
daytime phone, # of issues, and valid 
member ID# for member discount To 
pay by VISA/MC/AMEX include card #, 
name on card & exp. date. 



INTERACTIVE 

CLASSIFIEDS ARE AVAILABLE 

AT WWWJVIVF.ORG 



BUY » RENT * SELL 

aaton XTR 16/SUP16 camera package for 
rent Canon zooms, Zeiss primes & full sup- 
port. Abel Maintained. Great rates. (718) 
398-6688 or email: jryrisius@aol.com. 

AFFORDABLE AVID EDITING UPPER W SIDE. 2 

compatible AVID Media Composer 1000s in 
adjacent rooms, rent one or both by 
day/week/month. Shuttle drives makes it 
easy to move media. Suites have phone, 
Mixer, Beta SP, DVCAM, VHS, CD and use of 
insert camcorder, fax, copier, hi-speed inter- 
net Very reasonable rates, especially for long 
projects!! Anna (212) 875-0456. 

AUDIO MIXING FOR FILM/DV: Mag tracks or 
OMFs, $80 per hour. Beautiful Final Cut 
room with DVD & DVCAM, $20 per hour. 
Dialog cleaning. ADR, Foley, sweetening, and 
design. Paul@stellarsoundfx.com. Chrystie 
St, NYC. (212)529-7193. 



CANON GL2 for sale. Mint. Used once as 
an emergency backup camera on a 
fashion shoot. $1700 negotiable. Out of the 
Box TV: (845) 348-1998 or email 
dgaynes@outoftheboxtv.com. 

DIGIBETA DECK RENTAL ONLY $400 
/DAY: I deliver! Also, Beta SP decks by 
day/week/month. Uncompressed Avid 
Suite, AVR 77 Suite, Digi Pro-Tools w/ 
Voiceover Booth. DV Cam decks and cam- 
eras, mics, lights, etc. Production Central 
(212)631-0435. 

KEEP IT DIGITAL! Digibeta deck for rent (Sony 
A-500) $400/day, $1200/week. Also dubs 
to/from Digibeta to Beta-SP, VHS, DVCam, 
mini-DV, etc. Uncompressed Avid suite, too. 
Production Central (212) 631-0435. 

NEW AVID MEDIA EXPRESS suite for rental. 
Good location in Manhattan near subway. 
Price negotiable depending on the length of 
the project. Full Beta SP equipment available 
for daily or weekly rentals. Lucia (917) 821- 
7466; conexao@aol.com. 

PRODUCTION JUNCTION RENTALS: Cameras, 
decks, lights, mics, etc. Gladly answer 
technical questions. Rates available at 
www.ProductionJunction.com, phone (212) 769- 
8927 or email info@ProductionJunction.com. 

RENT A FINAL CUT PRO edit suite in 
Manhattan's financial district w/24 hour 
access, Photoshop, After Effects, and 25 
hours of on-line storage. 10% discount to all 
AIVF members. Call Alva at Mint Leaf 
Productions: (212) 952-0121, ext. 226. 

WELL MAINTAINED, AFFORDABLE SCREENING 
ROOM on LA's west side. Perfect for rough 
cuts, test screenings, film-outs & dailies. Film 
& video production starting at $55/hr. New 
Deal Studios screening room: (310) 578- 
9929. www.newdealstudios.com. 

FREELANCE 

24P/HD PRODUCTION/ARRI SR/BETA SP pro- 
duction packages. Complete grip/electric 
truck with tungsten/HMI lighting, jib, dolly, 
crew. Experienced DP with doc, feature, 
commercial, industrial credits and festival 
awards. Call BSP for a killer reel (203) 
254-7370. 

35MM & 16MM PROD. PKG. W/DP. Complete 
package w/ DP's own Arri 35BL, 1 6SR, 
HMI's, dolly, jib crane, lighting, DAT, grip & 



5-ton truck more. Call for reel: Tom Agnello 

(201) 741-4367; roadtoindy@aol.com. 

ACCOUNTANT/BOOKKEEPER/CONTROLLER: 

Experience in both corporate & nonprofit 
sectors. Hold MBA in Marketing & 
Accounting. Freelance work sought. Sam 
Sagenkahn (917) 374-2464. 

ANDREW DUNN, DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY/ 

camera operator Arri35 BL3, Aaton XTRprod 
S16, Sony DVCAM. Experience in features, 
docs, TV & industrials. Credits: Dog Run, 
Strays, Working Space/Working Light (212) 
477-0172; AndrewD158@aol.com. 

BRENDAN C FLYNT: DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY 

w/ many feature & short film credits. Owns 
35 Arri BL3, Super 16/16 Aaton, HMIs, 
Dolly, and Tulip Crane. Awards at Sundance & 
Raindance. Call for quotes & reel at (212) 
208-0968; www.dpFlynt.com. 

COMPOSER: creative, experienced multi- 
faceted composer/sound designer excels in 
any musical style and texture to enhance 
your project. Credits incl. award winning 
docus, features, TV films, animations on 
networks, cable, PBS, MTV. Full prod, studio 
in NYC. Columbia MA in composition. 
Free demo CD & consult. Elliot Sokolov 
(2 1 2) 72 1 -32 1 8; elliotsoko@aol.com. 

COMPOSER MIRIAM CUTLER loves to collabo- 
rate- docs, features. 2002 Berlin "Lost In La 
Mancha", Sundance/POV "Scout's Honor" & 
"Licensed To Kill", Peabody "The Castro", 
"Pandemic: Facing AIDS" & more. (310) 
398-5985; mir.cut@verizon.net 

COMPOSER: Original music for your film or 
video project, Will work with any budget. 
Complete digital studio. NYC area. Demo CD 
upon request. Call Ian O'Brien: (201) 222- 
2638; iobrien@bellatlantic.net 

COMPOSER: Perfect music for your project. 
Orchestral to techno— you name it! 
Credits incl. NFL, PBS, Travel Channel, 
Sundance, Hamptons and many 
others. Bach, of Music, Eastman School. 
Quentin Chiappetta (718) 782-4535; 
medianoise@excite.com. 

COMPOSER: Wealth of collaborative experi- 
ence composing imaginative music for award 
winning films. Complete digital audio studio. 
Sound design, surround mastering. Extensive 
sound/sample libraries. Craig Slon; (718) 
369-3058; aracu@juno.com. 



72 The Independent | March 2003 



DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ Aaton Super 
16/1 6mm and Arri 35BL-2 camera pkgs. 
Expert Lighting & Camerawork for independ- 
ent films. Create that "big film" look on a low 
budget. Great prices. Matthew (617) 244- 
6730; (845) 439-5459; mwdp@att.net. 

DP WITH FILM, VIDEO & LIGHTING/GRIP pack- 
ages. Extensive documentary & 
independent project experience. Well- 
traveled, multi-lingual and experience field 
producing as well. Call Jerry for reel/rates: 
(71 8) 398-6688 or email jryrisius@aol.com. 

EDITOR: FINAL CUT PRO BETA SP & DV, editor 
with private suite. Wide range of 
experience: narrative, music videos, 
documentaries, industrials & promos. Reel 
available, affordable prices. East Village 
location. Call (917) 523-6260, or check 
www.HighNoonProd.com. 

GRANTWRITING/FUNDRAISING: Research, 
writing & strategy (for production, distribu- 
tion, exhibition & educational projects of 
media). Successful proposals to NYSCA, 
NEA, NEH, ITVS, Soros, Rockefeller, Lila 
Acheson Wallace Foundation. Fast writers, 
reasonable rates. Wanda Bershen, (212) 
598-0224; www.reddiaper.com; or Geri 
Thomas (21 2) 625-201 1 ; www.artstaffing.com. 

INDEPENDENT PICTURES: EXPERIENCED LINE 
PRODUCER available to help with your Detailed 
Budget, Script Breakdown, Shooting 
Schedule, and/or Day-out-of-Days. Specialty 
is low budget but high quality. Email 
AnnettaLM@aol.com for rates and references. 

LOCATION SOUND: Over 20 yrs sound exp. w/ 
timecode Nagra & DAT, quality mics. 
Reduced rates for low-budget projects. 
Harvey & Fred Edwards, (518) 677-5720; 
edfilms@worldnet.att.net. 

RICHARD CHISOLM, DOCUMENTARY DP; 

National EMMY winner; International experi- 
ence; Personal style; Hand-held expertise. 
(410) 467-2997. www.richardchisolm.com. 

OPPORTUNITIES * GIGS 

50 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR VIDEO BUSINESS. Free 
Report http://videouniversity.com/50web.htm 
Grow a successful video business in Legal, 
Wedding, Corporate, TV and more. 

DIRECTOR OF TRAINING & CURRICULUM 
DEVELOPMENT. Manhattan Neighborhood 
Network seeks experienced media maker 



with a distinctive visual/creative style to 
develop video production training program 
for staff video instructors working in commu- 
nity media. Full-time with benefits. Send sam- 
ple reels and resume to: Steve Mendelsohn, 
MNN, 537 West 59th St, NY, NY 10019. 

DP/COLLABORATOR w/complete video pack- 
age for documentary. Producer seeking 
experienced DP in metro NY area to partici- 
pate in creative development of project. 
Contact slaiges@aol.com. 

FIELD PRODUCERS SOUGHT for broadcast 
and non-broadcast series on health care 
beginning in 2003. Must have broadcast 
experience. Health care experience a plus. 
Send resumes and reels to Crosskeys Media, 
2060 Alameda Padre Serra, Santa Barbara, 
CA93103. 

FORTRESS FILMS is looking for erotic, roman- 
tic, and action thriller screenplays for possible 
development. Low to medium budget. 
Submission should include feature-length 
script and a synopsis. Sent to: Fortress Films, 
251 53rd Street, Brooklyn, NY 1 1220. 

WELL-ESTABLISHED freelance camera group 
in NYC seeking professional cameramen and 
soundmen w/ solid Betacam video experi- 
ence to work w/ our wide array of clients. If 
qualified contact COA at (212) 505-1911. 
Must have video samples/reel. 

PREPRODUCTION 

BUDGETS/INVESTOR PACKAGE: Experienced 
Line Producer will prepare script break- 
downs, shooting schedules & detailed budg- 
ets. Movie Magic equipped. Credit cards 
accepted. Indie rates. Mark (212) 340-1243 
or LineProducerNYC@aol.com. 

MOVIE PLAN SOFTWARE: Film Investment 
Memorandum Maker. Create document 
for selling your film project to potential investors. 
PC/MAC Electronic Template. Only $24.99. 
Download sample at http://www.movieplan.net 

SCREENWRITER FOR HIRE, The Write Deal 
for Low Budget Independents, I can 
develop your idea into a script ready 
for production, www.thewritedeal.com, 
thewritedeal@email.com, (805)641-1651, 
samples available. 

SU-CITY PICTURES clients win awards & get 
deals! Susan Kouguell, Tufts instructor, 
author The Savvy Screenwriter analyzes: 



scripts/films/treatments/queries/ 
synopses/pitches. Over 1,000 clients 
worldwide inch Miramax, Warner Bros, Fine 
Line. Rewrites available. (212) 219-9224; 
http://www.su-city-pictures.com. 

POSTPRODUCTION 

AUDIO POST PRODUCTION: Full service audio 
post-production services for the 
independent filmmaker. Mix-to-pic, ADR, 
voice-over, sound design and editing. Pro 
Tools 5.1 environment. Contact Andrew; 
(718) 349-7037; brooksy647@aol.com. 

AVID EDITOR: Over 25 feature films. Also 
Trailers, Docs, TV, Reels. Fully equipped 
Tribeca AVID suite, FCP, DVD. Pro-tools 
editing & mixing. Very fast & easy to get 
along with. Credit cards accepted. Drina 
(212) 561-0829. DrinaL@aol.com. 

BE A FINAL CUT PRO EDITOR: Learn from a 
professional editor & experienced teacher. 
Affordable: small classes and private 
tutorials, hands-on training. Call (917) 523- 
6260 or check www.HighNoonProd.com. 

BRODSKY & TREADWAY: Film-to-tape masters. 
Reversal only. Regular 8mm, Super 8, or 
archival 16mm. We love early B&W 
& Kodachrome. Scene-by-scene only, Correct 
frame rates. For appt. call (978) 948-7985. 

EMEDIALOFT.ORG FINAL CUT PRO G-4 

digital video with editor $65/hr; Discounts; 
Production; S/8 & R/8 film transfers; 
VHS, Hi-8, CD-Rom, DVD, mini-DV, DV-Cam; 
Photos, Graphics, Labels. West 
Village. Bill Creston (212) 924-4893 
eMediaLoft@lycos.com. 

FLAT RATE SOUND: Edit/Design/Mix: Protools 
HD, 5.1, M&E. AVID & FCP equipped. 
Downtown Location 10 Years Experience. 
Dozens of Features. Shorts, 

TV, Docs, Trailers, Spots. Credit Cards 
OK. Frank, Mark (212) 340-4770. 
SoundDesignMix@aol.com. 

PRODUCTION TRANSCRIPTS: Verbatim tran- 
scripts for documentaries, journalists, etc. 
Low prices & flat rates based on tape length. 
Standard 1 hr., 1 -on-1 interview is only $80: 
www.productiontranscripts.com for details 
or call: (888) 349-3022. 



CLASSIFIEDS ARE AVAILABLE 
AT WWVtfJVIVF.ORG 



March 2003 | The Independent 73 



J 



Unless noted, AIVF programs take place 
at our offices (see below). RSVP is 
required for all AIVF events: call 
(212) 807-1400 x301 or www.aivf.org. 



AIVF CO-SPONSORS 

NEW YORK 
UNDERGROUND 
FILM FESTIVAL 

when: March 5-11 
where: Anthology Film 
Archive, 32 2nd Ave. 
(at 2nd St.) 



*k 



Q 



The 10th NYUFF returns with its 
unconventional showcase of experi- 
mental, nonfiction, and fiction fea- 
tures and shorts from video and 
filmmakers around the world. Don't 



miss the following AIVF panel: 



reach AIVF... 

Filmmakers' Resource Library 
hours: Wed. 11-9 
or by apt. to AIVF members 
Tue., Thur., Fri. 1 1 -6. 

The AIVF office is located at 
304 Hudson St (between Spring & 
Vandam) 6th fl., in New York City. 
(Subways: 1 or 9 to Houston, 
C or E to Spring.) 

Our Filmmakers' Resource Library 
houses hundreds of print and 
electronic resources, from essential 
directories & trade magazines to 
sample proposals & budgets. 

By Phone: (212)807-1400 
Recorded information available 
24/7; operator on duty Tues.-Fri. 
2-5 p.m. EST 

By internet: 

www.aivf.org; info@aivf.org 



DVD DIY 

when: March 8, 12 p.m. 

where: Anthology Film Archives 

cost: Free and open to the public 

With tools for creating DVD's in the fea- 
ture sets of many new editing systems, 
most filmmakers are wondering how 
they can best exploit the new distribu- 
tion medium. A panel of DVD experts 
will discuss the pros and cons of turning 
out work on DVD, what type of features 
are possible on a small budget, how to 
find distribution for independent 
DVD's, and what influences the format 
can have upon the future of filmmaking. 

All NYUFF panels are free and open to the 
public on a first-come, first-served basis. 
Check in online at www.aivf.org or 
www.nyuff.com for complete details. 

AIVF CO-SPONSORS 

AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN 

IN CINEMA FILM FESTIVAL 



AIVF CO-SPONSORS 

SXSW FILM FESTIVAL 



when: March 7-8 

where: Tribeca Film Center, 

375 Greenwich St., New York, NY 

The AAWIC Film Festival is devoted 
to fostering continual awareness of 
artistic minority women in cinema. 
The festival showcases features, docu- 
mentaries, shorts, and animation 
films by African, Latino, or Asian 
Diaspora women. AAWICFF is 
pleased to announce the premiere of 
the Screenplay Competition, spon- 
sored by the Writers Script Network. 

For more information on the African American 
Women in Cinema Film Festival, visit 
www.aawic.org. 



® film 



2003 



SXSW 

south by southwest 

when: March 7-15 

where: Austin Convention Center 



Through memorable and groundbreak- 
ing films, inspired panel discussion, and 
a comprehensive trade show, SXSW 
Film Festival offers a wealth of opportu- 
nity for anyone with a passion for the 
movies. At SXSW, AIVF will be cospon- 
soring the following panel discussions: 

RAISING MONEY 

when: March 8, 11-12:30 p.m. 

Robert Townsend maxed out his 
credit cards. Robert Rodriguez took 
part in a pharmaceutical study. What 
are you willing to do? You have an 
idea that demands to be made into a 
film, and you need to raise money. As 
is the case with all aspects of the 
independent film industry, creativity 
is a must. 

DOCUMENTARY 
DISTRIBUTION 

when: March 11, 1:30-3:00 p.m. 

What's more of a documentary suc- 
cess story: Bowling For Columbine or 
The Osbournes? There are many 
options for a documentarian who 
wants to share his or her work with 
the world, but how will the main- 
stream of 2003 view your film, and 
what distribution outlets are really 
viable for nonfiction work? 

For more on the SXSW Film Festival, visit 
www.sxsw.com 



74 The Independent | March 2003 



AIVF CO-SPONSORS 

ALLIANCE FOR COMMUNITY 
MEDIA NORTHEAST 
REGIONAL CONFERENCE 

when: March 13-15 

where: Brooklyn Marriott Hotel 

cost: $45 1 to 2-day reg ($30 AIVF 

members); $60 3-day full reg. ($45 

AIVF members) 

Optional meals: $20 

Friday breakfast 




CHICAGO \ 
PUBLIC TV 
TO SHOWCASE 
MEMBER SHORTS 

Image Union, Chicago public tele- 
vision's Emmy-award winning 
showcase of independent film and 
video, has put together a selection 
of work by local AIVF mediamakers, 
which is scheduled to air March 30. 
Chosen from among a collection 
of films assembled and submitted 
with the help of Chicago-based 
AIVF board member Jim Vincent, 
the showcase is the first such col- 
lection for Image Union, which 
highlights local festivals and film 
programs. 

The three films are: 
The Taste of Dirt 

by Yvonne Welbon 

Bessie Cohen, Survivor 
of the 1911 Shirtwaist Fire 

by Hope Tucker 

Twin Set, by Eva Saks 

For more broadcast information, visit: 
www.networkchicago.com/image 



Thanks to the AIVF board mem- 
bers who conceived of the idea 
and the loocal filmmakers who 
stepped up to promote their local 
AIVF membership. 



and box lunch; $60 Saturday break- 
fast and luncheon with speaker 

ADVOCACY AFTERNOON: 
POWER TO THE PEOPLE! 
PANEL ON MEDIA ADVOCACY 

when: March 13, 2-5 p.m. 
where: Brooklyn Marriott Hotel 
33 Adam St., Brooklyn, NY 

This afternoon program will put a 
human face on advocacy issues. A 
panel of guest speakers will provide 
an overview of contemporary issues. 
Following this panel will be three 
case studies that address these discus- 
sions in real experience. The afternoon 
will wrap with an opportunity to 
design advocacy strategies of your own. 
The Advocacy Afternoon is present- 
ed by AIVF, MNN, NATOA, and 
CTCNet. Check in periodically at 
www.acm-ne.org for more details. 

ACM MEDIA 
DEMOCRACY WEEK 

when: March 16-22 

The ACM is designating March 16-22 as 
Media Democracy Week. Access centers 
around the country will join in reaching 
out to the communities through various 
activities to educate and advocate on 
behalf of media democracy. 

For information on how to partici- 
pate in your own community, visit the 
ACM's Legislative Action Center online 
at www.alliancecm.org/mediademocracy 
and stay tuned for future action. 

AIVF COSPONSORS 
DALLAS VIDEO 
FESTIVAL 

when: March 19-23 

where: Angelika Film Center/Dallas 

Museum of Art, Dallas, TX 

Since 1986, the Dallas Video Festival 
has specialized in fiercely independ- 
ent, imaginative, unusual, provoca- 
tive, and sometimes description-defy- 
ing electronic media. Check out festi- 
val at www.videofest.org/2003. 




r 



"\ 



v 



AVID at DIVA 

large rooms 

with a view 

in mid-town 

24 hr building 



AVID 1000/AVR77 
AVID 800 Film Composer 

Newly reconfigured 
Easier for editing 



As long-time 

AIVF members 

our goal is to help 

other independents 



DIVA Edit 
1-800-324- AVID 

330 W 42nd St NYC 



J 



^ 



ALLIANCE 
INTERNATIONAL PICTURES 

WORLDWIDE DISTRIBUTION OF INDEPENDENT FILMS 



ALL GENRES 

Action 

Comedy 

Cult 

Drama 

Erotic 

Horror 

Documentaries 

Special Interest 



Attendance at 

Domestic and International 

Film Markets 



NAPTE AFM Cannes 
MIPCOM and MIFED 



Send Screeners to 

Alliance International Pictures 

332 Convent Avenue Suite # 5 

New York NY 10031 

212.491.0058 

www.allianceinternationalpictures.com 



March 2003 | The Independent 75 



EDIT CENTER 



Learn the art of editing using Final Cut Pro i 
Six-Week Courses and Weekend Intensives f 

"The Edit Center has been offering budding editors 
a way to get hands-on experience in postproduction 

Fa fraction of the time..." 
The Independent Film & Video Monthly 

45 e 30th st nth r New York NY10016 212 252 D91Q www.theeditcenter.com 



Looking for a Distributor? 



The University of California Extension is a leading educational distributor, 

with 85 years of experience selling to universities, schools, libraries, 

health organizations, and other institutions worldwide. 

If your new work is ready for distribution, give us a call. 
University of California Extension 



510-643-2788 cmil@uclink.berkeley.edu 

http://www-cmil.unex.berkeley.edu/media/ 





Digital /Analog 

Film, Video & Web Production 

AVID AND FINAL CUT PRO SUITES 

POST-PRODUCTION SPECIALISTS 

AFTER EFFECTS / MOTION GRAPHICS 

EXPERIENCED IN FEATURE LENGTH 
DOCUMENTARIES AND NARRATIVES 



670 BROADWAY SUITE 300, NY, NY 10012 

3 3 4-8283 

www.americanmontage.com 




Special Dallas Video Festival Program: 
AIVF FILMMAKER'S BRUNCH 

when: 10 a.m.- 12p.m., March 22 
where: KERA TV 3000, Harry Hines 
Blvd., Dallas, TX 
cost: Free 

AIVF is proud to host a Filmmaker's 
Brunch at the Dallas Video Festival. 
This is a time for makers to talk to 
each other away from the audience. 
Talk about your work, talk politics, or 
just talk shop! All makers are invited. 



IN BRIEF: 
FINANCING 
INTERNATIONAL 
CO-PRODUCTIONS 

when: March 20, 
6:30-8:30 p.m. 
where: ATVF 
cost: $30/$20 members 



The AIVF Producers' Legal Series 
helps answer common legal and busi- 
ness questions about structuring and 
negotiating deals in film and TV . This 
session addresses issues of interna- 
tional co-productions including inter- 
national co-production treaties, euro- 
pean and Canadian "point system," 
and other forms of co-producing 
financing. 

Series moderator Innes Smolansky 
is an entertainment attorney with 
Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & 
Sheppard. She specializes in repre- 
senting independent production com- 
panies, writers and directors, includ- 
ing international co-productions. 

DOC DIALOGUE: 

GENRE AND STRUCTURE 

when: March 25, 6:30-8:30 p.m. 

where: AIVF 

cost: $5 members/$20 general 

Is there an inherent structure to each 
documentary genre? And after all, 
what are the different documentary 
genres? From personal documentary 
to historical document, where does 
your film belong? Come and join your 



76 The Independent | March 2003 



peers to discuss and share how to 
structure your film according to your 
vision and the topic you are shooting. 
Hosted by filmmaker and script/doc- 
umentary doctor Fernanda Rossi. 



PUBLIC TV 

MENTORSHIP 

SESSIONS: 

CALL FOR 
SUBMISSIONS 



PBS 



.! 




Corporation 
lor Public 
Broadcasting 




ATVT members are eligible to submit 
rough cuts of their nonfiction projects 
for selection in our Public TV 
Mentorship Sessions. Selected mem- 
bers will meet the greenlighting staff 
from the National PBS and CBS offices 
to discuss their projects in-depth, 
receive valuable feedback, and explore 
the project's broadcast possibilities. 

For complete submission details, log on to 
www.aivf.org or contact us at (21 2) 807-1400, 
x507, to have packet sent to you by mail. 
In-Office Deadline: Thurs., March 27. 

AIVF MEMBER DISCOUNT 
FILMS AT THE LINCOLN 
CENTER 

where: Walter 

Reade Theatre, J* . | ^£&. ! 

Lincoln Center, 165 west 65th St., 

New York, NY 

www.filmlinc.com 

AIVF memebers may attend select 
screening series (listed below) at a 



MASTER CLASS 
SERIES 

AIVF will present a 3-part work- 
shop offering invaluable tools 
and information to help develop 
the filmmaker's craft. Each ses- 
sion includes an in-depth glimpse 
into a specific film or project as 
relayed by the producers and 
directors who created them, fol- 
lowed by break-out sessions with 
attendees. 
Watch www.aivf.org for details. 



discounted rate— just $5 per ticket. 
Please bring your membership card to 
the box office. 

MARCH PROGRAMS: 

Through 3/6 The Last of the 
Pioneers: Allan. Dwan 
3/7-3/16 Rendezvous with 
French Cinema 
3/19-3/25 Celebration of NY 
Women in Film & Television 

DOCFEST/DOC SHOP 

The New York Documentary Center 
programming continues year round 
with two monthly screening and 
discussion series: docshop and 
docfest monthly. 

3/6 SCHMELVIS: IN SEARCH OF ELVIS 
PRESLEY'S JEWISH ROOTS 7:30 p.m., at 
the JCC Theater 

3/18 THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE 

8 p.m., at the Pioneer Theater 

For info, visit www.docfest.org or call (646) 
505-5708 



iy 



WOMEN MAKE 

MOVIES 

SPRING MEDIA 

WORKSHOP 

SERIES 

where: 462 Broadway, Ste. 500, 

New York, NY 

WMM kicks off their spring media 
workshop series this month and 
continues to offer AIVF members the 
discounted rate. 

FUNDRAISING CLINIC: SECRETS OF 
HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL PROPOSALS 

when: March 4th, 8th & 1 1th 
cost: $144 / $120 disc, rate (3-day clin- 
ic); $50 / $40 disc, (per workshop) 

BUDGETING SENSE 

when: March 18, 6:30-9:30 
cost: $50 / $40 discount rate 

To register, call (21 2) 925-0606 x302, or visit 
www.wmm.com. 



STANDBY 

PROGRAM 

AFFORDABLE SERVICES FOR 1 

ARTISTS & ORGANIZATIONS 

Standby provides artists & independent 
makers access to state-of-the-art media 
services at top-rated post-production 
studios at discounted rates. 



AUDIO & VIDEO 
POST PRODUCTION 

BROADCAST QUALITY EDITING 

DIGITAL EFFECTS 

SOUND DESIGN 

FILM TO TAPE TRANSFERS 

VIDEO CONVERSIONS 

DUPLICATION 

WEB & MULTI-MEDIA SERVICES 

DVD AUTHORING 

ARTSTREAM 

STREAMING MEDIA HOSTING 

TECHNICAL CONSULTATION 



CELEBRATING 20 YEARS! 



135 W 26th St 12th fl 
New York, NY 10001 
Phone (212) 206 7858 
info@standby.org 




D-LAB POST 

RNAL CUT PRO SPECIALISTS 

OFFERING 

TECH SUPPORT 

EDTTORS 

TRAINING 

CLIENTS INCLUDE 

PBS 

IFC 

BRAVO 

OXYGEN MEDIA 
LIONS GATE RLMS 

WE HAVE SUPERVISED 
OVER 10 FEATURES 
EDITED ON RNAL CUT PRO 

2122521906 
2122520917 

Eleventh floor, 45 E 30th Street New York NY10016 



March 2003 | The Independent 77 



FIVF THANKS 



The Foundation for Independent Video and Film (FIVF), the educational affiliate of the Association for Independent Video and 
Filmmakers (AIVF), supports a variety of programs and services for the independent media community, including publication of 
The Independent and a series of resource publications, seminars and workshops, and information services. None of this work 
would be possible without the generous support of the AIVF membership and the following organizations: 



W 



□ 



The Academy Foundation 
Empire State Development 

Forest Creatures Entertainment, Inc. 
Home Box Office 

The J.R Morgan Chase Foundation 



John D. and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation 

The National Endowment for the Arts 

New York Foundation for the Arts 

New York State Council on the Arts 

Sony Electronics Corporation 

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation 



We also wish to thank the following individuals and organizational members: 



Nonprofit Members: AL Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival; CA: 
Berkeley Documentary Center; Film Arts Foundation; Filmmakers 
Alliance; Fireside Foundation; International Buddist Film Festival; 
Media Fund; San Diego Asian Film Festival; San Francisco Jewish Film 
Festival: USC School of Cinema TV; CO: Colorado Film Commission; 
Denver Center Media; FL Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival; Sarasota 
Film Festival; University of Tampa; Valencia Community College; GA: 
Atlanta Black Film Festival, Inc.; Image Film and Video Center; 
Savannah College of Art and Design; HI: Pacific Islanders in 
Communications; IL Art Institute of ChicagoA/ideo Data Bank; 
Community Television Network; Light Bound; Northern Illinois 
University, Dept. of Communication; Rock Valley College; KY: 
Appalshop; MA: CCTV; Documentary Educational Resources; LEF 
Foundation; Long Bow Group, Inc.; Lowell Telecommunications Group 
Visual and Media Arts, Emerson College; WGBH Education Foundation 
MD: Laurel Cable Network; ME: Maine Photographic Workshops; MS 
Magnolia Independent Film Festival; NC: Cucalorus Film Foundation 
Duke University, Film and Video; Empowerment Project; UNC 
Greensboro, Broadcasting and Cinema; NE: AIVF Salon/Lincoln; Great 
Plains Film Festival; Ross Film Theater, UN-Lincoln; NH: Telluride Film 
Festival; NJ: Black Maria Film Festival; Freedom Film Society; NY: After 
Dark Productions; American Museum of Natural History; Art21; Center 
for New American Media; Cinema Arts Center; Children's Media 
Project; Cornell Cinema; Council for Positive Images, Inc.; Creative 
Capital Foundation; Crowing Rooster Arts; Downtown Community 
Television; Electronic Arts Intermix; Experimental TV Center; EVC; Film 
Forum; Film Society of Lincoln Center; Film Video Arts; Globalvision, 
Inc.; Hudson Valley Media Arts Center; International Film Seminars; 
John Jay High School; Listen Up!; Mimetic Media; Manhattan 
Neighborhood Network; National Foundation for Jewish Culture; 
National Video Resources; New School University Film Department; 
Nina Winthrop and Dancers; New York Film Academy; New York 
Women in Film and Television; POV/The American Documentary; Pratt 
Institute; Ross Media Center; Squeaky Wheel; Standby Program; Stony 
Brook Film Festival; Syracuse University; Upstate Films, Ltd.; Witness; 
Women Make Movies; OH: Athens Center for Film and Video; Media 
Bridges Cincinnati; Ohio Independent Film Festival; Wexner Center for 
the Arts; OR: Media Arts, MHCC; Northwest Film Center; PA: American 
Poetry Center; Desales University, Department of the Performing Arts; 
Department of Film and Video, Carnegie Museum of Art; Great Lakes 
Film Association; Greenworks; Philadelphia Independent Film and 
Video Association; Prince Music Theater; Scribe Video Center; Temple 
University; University of the Arts; WYBE Public TV 35; Rl: Flickers Arts 
Collaborative; SC: South Carolina Arts Commission; Hybrid Films; TX: 
Austin Film Society; Southwest Alternate Media Project; VA: PBS; VA 
Department of Drama; VT: The Noodlehead Network; WA: Seattle 
Central Community College; France: The Camargo Foundation; 



Germany: International Shorts Film Festival; India: Foundation for 
Universal Responsibility 

Business/Industry Members: AZ: Aaquinas Productions, Inc.; 
CA: Action/Cut Directed by Seminars; Attaboc, LLC; Bluprint Films; 
David Keith Company; Eastman Kodak Co.; Groovy Like a Movie; The 
Hollywood Reporter; MPRM; SJPL Films, Ltd.; Video Arts; CO: The 
Crew Connection; Makers Muse; DC: 48 Hour Film Project; FL: 
GeekPower; Vision Films; IL: Buzzbait; Roxie Media Corporation; 
Screen Magazine; MA: Glidecam Industries; MD: The Learning 
Channel; Ml: Grace & Wild Studios, Inc.; MN: Aquaries Media; NH: 
Kinetic Films; NJ: Monkey Rant Productions; NY: American Montage; 
Analog Digital Int'l, Inc.; ArtMar Productions; Asset Pictures, Inc.; 
Black Bird Post; C-Hundred Film Corporation; Cataland Films; Code 
16/Radical Avid; Cypress Films; Daniel, Seigel & Bimbler, LLP; 
Docurama; Dr. Reiff and Assoc.; Field Hand Productions, Inc.; Forest 
Creatures Entertainment; Gartenberg Media Enterprises; HBO; Interflix; 
Jalapeno Media; Mad Mad Judy; Mackenzie Culter, Inc.; The Means of 
Production, Inc.; Mercer Media; Metropolis Film Lab, Inc.; Mixed 
Greens; Moxie Firecracker Films; One Kilohertz; The Outpost; Outside 
in July, Inc.; Persona Films, Inc.; Post Typhoon Sky, Inc.; Prime 
Technologies; Robert Seigel Entertainment Law; Robin Frank 
Managment; Symphony of Chaos Productions; Webcasting Media 
Productions, Inc.; Wildlight Productions; XEL Media; Zanzibar 
Productions, Inc.; PA: Cubist Post and Effects; Janny Montgomery 
Scott, LLC; Schiff Media/SBS Films; Smithtown Creek Productions; TX: 
The Media Cottage, Inc.; Shootz Production Group; Tempest Production 
Company; VA: Dorst MediaWorks; The Project Studio 

Friends Of FIVF: Angela Alston, Desmond Andrews, Marion Appel, 
Phillip Aupperle, James J. Batzer, David Bemis, Doug Block, Dana 
Briscoe Brown, Margaret Brown, Adrianne Brown Ryan, Michael J. 
Camoin, Carl Canner, Liz Canner, Hugo Cassirer, Barbara Caver, Paul 
Devlin, Loni Ding, Martin Edelstein, Esq., Aaron Edison, Marilys Ernst, 
Paul Espinosa, Christopher Farina, Daniel Fass, Phoebe Ferguson, 
Holly Fisher, John Franco, Giovanni Ghidini, Nicole Guillemet, David 
Haas, Nancy Harvey, Emily Hubley, i-cubed Chicago Sarah Jacobson, 
Jane Jaffin, John Kavanaugh, Amelia Kirby, Vivan Kleiman, Amie Knox, 
Leonard Kurz, Lyda Kuth, Bart Lawson, Michelle Lebrun, William 
Lyman, David C. Maclay, Jr., Diane Markrow, Matthieu Mazza, Jim 
McKay, Diane Murphy, Sheila Nevins, Richard Numeroff, Elizabeth 
Peters, Mimi Pickering, Christina Reilly, David Reynolds, Amalie 
Rothschild, Larry Sapadin, John B. Schwartz, Robert L. Seigel, Esq., 
Gail Silva, Kit-Yin Snyder, Rhonda Leigh Tanzman, Rahdi Taylor, Temple 
University, Cynthia Travis, Joyce Vaughn, Cynthia Veliquette, PhD., 
Bart Weiss, Mary H. Wharton 



• J ■ 



The AIVF Regional Salons provide an 
opportunity for members to discuss 
work, meet other independents, share 
war stories, and connect with the AIVF 
community across the country. 

Visit www.aivf.org/regional for an 
overview of the broad variety of regional 
salon programs. 

Be sure to contact your local Salon 
leader to confirm date, time, and location 
of the next meeting! 

Albany/Troy, NY: 
Upstate Independents 

When: First Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: Arcs Center of the Capital Region 

265 River Street, Troy, NY 

Contact: Jeff Burns, (518) 366-1538 

albany@aivf.org 

www.upstateindependents.org 

Atlanta, GA: IMAGE 

When: Second Tuesdays, 7 p.m. 

Where: Redlight Cafe 

553 Amsterdam Ave. 

Contact: Mark Smith, (404) 352-4225 xl2 

atlanta@aivf.org; www.imagefv.org 

Austin, TX: Austin Film Society 

When: Last Mondays, 7 p.m. 
Contact: Jen White, (512) 917-3027 
austin@aivf.org; www.austinfilm.org 

Boston, MA: Center for 
Independent Documentary 

Contact: Fred Simon, (781) 784-3627 
boston@aivf.org 

Boulder, CO: 

"Films for Change" Screenings 

When: First Tuesdays, 7 p.m. 
Where: Boulder Public Library 
1000 Arapahoe 

Contact: Linda Mamoun, (303) 442- 
8445; boulder@aivf.org 

Charleston, SC: 

When: Last Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: Charleston County Library 

68 Calhoun Street 

Contact: Peter Paolmi, (843) 805-6841; or 

Peter Wentworth, charleston@aivf.org 



Salons are run by AIVF members, often in 
association with local partners. AIVF has 
resources to assist enthusiastic and 
committed members who wish to start a 
salon in their own community! Please call 
(212) 807-1400, x236, or e-mail 
members@aivf.org for information. 



Cleveland, OH: 

Ohio Independent Film Festival 

Contact: Annetta Marion or Bernadette 
Gillota, (216) 651-7315; cleveland@aivf.org 
www.ohiofilms.com 

Columbia, SC: 

When: Second Sundays 
Where: Art Bar, 1211 Park St. 
Contact: Wade Sellers, (803) 929-0066 
columbia@aivf.org 

Dallas, TX: 

Video Association of Dallas 

Contact: Bart Weiss, (214) 428-8700 
dallas@aivf.org 

Edison, NJ: 

Contact: Allen Chou, (732) 321-0711 
edison@aivf.org; www.passionriver.com 

Fort Wayne, IN: 

Contact: Erik Mollberg 

(260) 421-1248; fortwayne@aivf.org 

Houston, TX: SWAMP 

When: Last Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: 1519 West Main 

Contact: Mary Lampe, (713) 522-8592 

houston@aivf.org 

Huntsville, AL: 

Contact: Charles White, huntsville@aivf.org 

Jefferson County, AL: 

Contact: Paul Godby, (205) 956-3522 
jeffersoncounty@aivf.org 

Lincoln, NE: Nebraska 
Independent Film Project 

When: Second Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. 
Where: Telepro, 1844 N Street 
Contact: Jared Minary, lincoln@aivf.org 
www.lincolnne.com/nonprofit/nifp 

Los Angeles, CA: EZTV 

When: Third Mondays, 7:30 p.m. 

Where: EZTV, 1653 18th St. 

Santa Monica. 

Contact: Michael Masucci 

(310) 829-3389; losangeles@aivf.org 

Milwaukee, Wl: Milwaukee 
Independent Film Society 

When: First Wednesdays, 7 p.m. 

Where: Milwaukee Enterprise Center, 

2821 North 4th, Room 140 

Contact: Laura Gembolis 

(414) 688-2375; milwaukee@aivf.org 

www.mifs.org/salon 

Portland, OR: 

Contact: David Bryant, (503) 244-4225 
portland@aivf.org 



Rochester, NY: 

When: First Wednesdays, 7 p.m. 
(Subject to change; call to confirm) 
Where: Visual Studies Workshop 
Contact: W. Keith McManus 
(716) 256-3871; rochester@aivf.org 

San Diego, CA: 

Contact: Ethan van Thillo 

(619) 230-1938; sandiego@aivf.org 

San Francisco, CA: 

Contact: Tami Saunders 

(650) 271-0097; sanfrancisco@aivf.org 

Seattle, WA: 

Contact: Heather Ayres 

(206) 297-0933; Jane Selle Morgan 

(206) 915-6263; seattle@aivf.org 

Tucson, AZ: 

When: First Mondays, 6 p.m. 
Where: Access Tucson, 124 E. Broadway 
Contact: Rosarie Salerno 
tucson@aivf.org 

Washington, DC: 

Contact: Joe Torres, DC Salon hotline, 
(202) 554-3263 x4 
washingtondc@aivf.org 



DC Salon Hosts Talk 
with Screenwriter 
Gregory Allen Howard 

AIVF DC Salon hit the ground running this 
year with a variety of educational work- 
shops that range from the craft of screen- 
writing to understanding how the changing 
media landscape has impacted the inde- 
pendent film industry. 

The first big event was a conversation with 
screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard in 
February. Howard penned the films AH and 
Remember the 

Titans. Also on the 
slate was a visit with 
the Center for Digital 
Democracy's Jeff 
Chester, to discuss 
the effect media con- 
solidation of inde- , 
pendent filmmaking, 
as well as what film- 
makers should know 
about the future of broadband. 

In the works for March is a Salon on the 
history of black cinema. For dates and 
details, contact the DC Salon (see info 
above). 

— Joseph Torres 



March 2003 | The Independent 79 



the list 



Inspiring Films by Women 

By Jason Guerrasio 

Inspired by trailblazers such as Alice Guy-Blache and 

Alison Anders, women directors have ignored the statistics and the 

naysayers time and again by making inspiring, funny, passionate films. 

Whether with a gripping documentary or a screwball comedy, women 

filmmakers have proven that they are more than capable of screaming 

"Action!" Here, five women in the film world share their thoughts on 

films that have influenced their careers and their lives. 



Life and Debt, dir. Stephanie Black 

"When I chink of influential films, I naturally think of doc- 
umentaries, and women filmmakers have made extraordi- 
nary contributions to this field. Stephanie Black is a newer 
kid on the block, but she has the same fabulous instincts to 
get to the heart of the matter, to be intelligent about it, and 
to pull no punches, as any of the great women filmmakers 
of the past [have done]. Life and Debt examines the new eco- 
nomic world order's plundering of the economies and 
therefore the life of developing countries by focusing on 
the particular problem of Jamaica. It will shake up anyone 
who sees it." 

— Marian Masone, associate director of programming, 
Film Society of Lincoln Center 



Desperately Seeking Susan, dir. Susan Seidelman 
"[It's] one of my favorite movies of all time. I just watched 
the DVD about a month ago and I always find new things 
in the film I like. It's groundbreaking, even for— especially 
for— today's film climate. It's a great girl buddy movie, with 
great roles for women. I must have been about fourteen 
when I saw it [the first time]. I was aware that there were 
women behind the scenes and it inspired me to become a 
filmmaker. The appeal wasn't that it was a Madonna 
movie. I was too old to think Madonna was cool back then 
(that came later). It was one of the only films I've ever seen 
in my life that showed a woman longing for a creative, 
exciting life and inspired by another woman to get it. It's an 
unsung classic." 

— Sarah Jacobson, filmmaker 
(Mary Jane's Not a Virgin Anymore) 



Harlan County, U.S.A., dir. Barbara Kopple 
" Harlan County, U.S.A. is among the most important films 
made by a woman. Her gritty, cinema verite look at the 
lives of striking Kentucky miners' poverty and exploita- 
tion told a profoundly moving story of resilience, 
courage, and fighting spirit. This doc proved to the film 
establishment that documentaries could tell stories and 
be seen in theaters by the general public, not just by the 
committed few." 

— Karen Cooper, executive director, Film Forum 



Meshes of the Afternoon, dir. Maya Deren 
"This was the first time a woman's vision was put on 
screen by an independent artist. Maya Deren was the 
mother of experimental film, and she established spaces 
for independents. She was the first woman filmmaker to 
receive a Guggenheim. She was a theorist as well. I wish I 
had known her." 

— Barbara Hammer, filmmaker (History Lessons) 



Boys Don't Cry, dir. Kimberly Peirce 

"Hilary Swank won the Best Actress Award for her work in 
the picture, which is a thought-provoking and searing look 
into Brandon Teena's search for identity as a boy in the 
heartland, where his (her) experimentation ends in death. 
A story of prejudice, intolerance, and fear, it brilliantly 
highlights the issues that so many experience in trying to 
be comfortable in their own skin." 

— Hollace Davids, Women in Film outgoing 
president and board member 



80 The Independent | March 2003 




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April 2003 | Volume 26 Number 3 | www.aivf.org 



contents 






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Features 



4© ITS AN HONOR JUST TO BE NOMINATING 

The Academy's new documentary branch 

struggles to serve both the Oscars and 

filmmakers. 

[by Maud Kersnowski] 

44 UNLOCKING THE SECRETS 

OF THE SCREENING COMMITTEE 

Know how to approach a festival and 
advance your film from the screening 
room to the festival screen. 
[by Aaron Krach] 

47" SPECIALTY OF THE ARTHOUSE 

Distributors look at the changing arthouse 
landscape as indie film venues consolidate 
or else explore new niches. 
[by Ray Pride] 



Photos: Barnacle geese from Jacques Perrin's Winged 
Migration (Mathieu Simonet/Sony Pictures Classics); (from 
left) Gail Zappa, Charles Amirkhanian, Susan Rubio, and 
Bernard Francis Kyle enjoy San Francisco's Eyes & Ears: The 
Other Minds Film Festival (Lisa Petrie); Lea Kurka as Regina 
and Sidede Onyulo as Owuor in Caroline Link's Nowhere 
Africa (Zeitgeist Films). 

Page 5 photos: John Lee (Sab Shimono) and his digitized 
wife Helen (Eisa Davis), from the "Clay" segment of the feature 
film Robot Stories (Wesley Law); mobile curator Astria 
Suparak at home in Brooklyn (Mark Stephen Kornbluth); 
Brenda Lee and Elvis Presley, from Beth Harrington's 
documentary Welcome to the Club-The Women of 
Rockabilly (Brenda Lee); the Chiefs star player Beaver 
C'Bearing (Mark Junge/ITVS); Angelika Theater marquee 
(J. Allen Hansley). 

On the cover: Almost fifteen years after Roger & Me was 
passed over for an Oscar nomination, Michael Moore 
receives a nomination and membership in the Academy's 
new documentary branch as Bowling for Columbine breaks 
nonfiction film box office records (United Artists). 



April 2003 | The Independent 3 




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contents 




Upfront 



l^fl V^r / \ >«V^^H 


^»'-.'^„ 






EDITOR'S LETTER 

3 NEWS Guerrilla Girls fight film industry sexism; 
SAG/AFTRA union in the offing; Fat Girl beats 
Canadian censorship rap. [by Charlie Sweitzer] 

13 FIRST PERSON Arthouse theaters mount noble 
fight against marauding multiplexes. 
tby Philip Hartman] 

1 5 PROFILES Astria Suparak; Beth Harrington. 
[by Matt Wolf; Charlie Sweitzer] 

1 9 FIELD REPORT San Francisco Bay Area theaters 
[by Caitlin Roper] 

25 DOC DOCTOR When and how to share unfinished 
work, [by Fernanda Rossi] 

27 SITE SEEING Sundance Online Film Festival 
[by Maya Churi] 

23 DISTRIBUTOR FAQ Film Movement 
[by Jason Guerrasio] 

32 FESTIVAL CIRCUIT Park City's other dances; 
FCC forum mulls media consolidation laws 
[by Susan Diane Freel; Charlie Sweitzer] 

- ON VIEW Makers of Five Feet High and Rising 
return with a feature sequel Raising Victor 
Vargas; plus other work to watch for. 
[by Jason Guerrasio] 



Departments 



51 POLICY When new technology meets old-school 
industry, [by Ernesto Martinez] 

55 BOOKS Building your tech library. 
[by Greg Gilpatrick] 

53 TECHNOLOGY Hard disk recorders: boon or bust? 
[by Robert M. Goodman] 

SO THE LIST Memorable moviehouses. 
[by Jason Guerrasio] 



Listings 

FESTIVALS 

FILMS/TAPES WANTED 
70 NOTICES 
72 CLASSIFIEDS 



AIVF 



AIVF NEWS AND EVENTS 
SALONS 



April 2003 I The Independent 5 



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flielndependent 

■ I FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 

Publisher: Elizabeth Peters 
[publlslier@alvf.oig] 

Editor-in-Chief: Maud Kersnowski 
[edilor@aivf.org] 

Managing Editor: James Ellis 

[iodepeodeol@aivl.org] 

Staff Writer: Jason Guerrasio 

[jasoo@aivf.org] 

Design Director: Suzy Flood 

[sozyf@oploolioe.oet] 

Production Associate: Joshua Sanchez 

[josh@aivf.org] 

Editorial Interns: Charlie Sweitzer, Kathleen Kirk 

[chas@aivf.org. kathleeo@aivf.org] 

Contributing Editors: 

Pat Aufderheide, Maya Churi, Bo Mehrad, 

Cara Mertes, Robert L. Seigel, Esq., Patricia Thomson 

Contributing Photographer: 
Mark Stephen Kornbluth 

[mark@roskoyc.com] 

Advertising Director: Laura D. Davis 

(212) 807-1400 x225; [displayads@aivf.org] 

Advertising Representative: Veronica Shea 

(212) 807-1400 x232; [veronica@aivf.org] 

Classified Advertising: James Israel 

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POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: 

7?ie Independent Film & Video Monthly, 304 Hudson St., 

6 fl„ New York, NY 10013 



77ie Independent Film & Video Monthly (ISSN 0731-5198) is published 
monthly (except combined issues January/ February and July/August) by 
the Foundation for Independent Video and Film (FIVF), a 501(c)(3) dedi- 
cated to the advancement of media arts and artists. Subscription to the 
magazine is included in annual membership dues ($55/yr individual; 
$35/yr student; $100/yr nonprofit/school; $150/yr business/industry) paid 
to the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), the 
national professional association of individuals involved in moving image 
media. Library subscriptions are $75/yr. Contact: AIVF, 304 Hudson St., 6 
fl„ New York, NY 10013, (212) 807-1400; fax: (212) 463-8519; 
info@aivf.org. 

Periodical Postage paid at New York, New York 
and at additional mailing offices. 

Printed in the 0SA by Cadmus Journal Services. 

VjP Publication of The Independent is made possible in part 
^^ with public funds from the New York State Council on the 
"»Vo'»°m"; Arts, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the 
Arts, a federal agency. 

Publication of any ad in The Independent does not constitute an endorse- 
ment. AIVF/ FIVF are not responsible for any claims made in an ad. All con- 
tents are copyright of the Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 
Reprints require written permission and acknowledgement of the article's 
previous appearance in 77?e Independent The Independent is indexed in 
the Alternative Press Index and is a member of the Independent Press 
Association. 

AIVF/ FIVF staff: Elizabeth Peters, executive director; Alexander Spencer, 
deputy director; Sonya Malta, program director; Priscilla Grim, member- 
ship and advocacy director; James Israel, Bo Mehrad, information servic- 
es associates; Avril Speaks, executive assistant; Greg Gilpatrick, technolo- 
gy consultant; Sue Freel, Katie Ainslie, Rania Richardson, Natalie Walker, 
interns; AIVF/FIVF legal counsel: Robert I. Freedman, Esq, Cowan, 
DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard. 

AIVF/FIVF Boards of Directors: Angela Alston, Kim Brar, Liz Canner, 
Anne del Castillo, Paul Espinosa, Kyle Henry, Vivian Kleiman*, Reggie Life, 
Jim McKay*, Elizabeth Peters (ex officio), Gail Silva*, Sharan Sklar*, 
Valerie Soe*, Simon Tarr, Rahdi Taylor, Jim Vincent, Jane Wagner*, Bart 
Weiss. 'FIVF Board ol Directors only. 



© Foundation for Independent Video & Film, Inc. 2003 
Visit The Independent online at: www.aivt.org 



6 The Independent | April 2003 




Editor's 
Letter 

I discovered 
independent 
film when I was 
fifteen at a one- 
screen calendar 
arthouse in 

Kansas City 
called the Bijou. This was where I first 
saw Water's Pink Flamingos, Sayles' 
Return of the Secaucus 7, and Fellini's La 
Dolce Vita, all of which seemed cool 
beyond cool to a fifteen-year-old girl 
from the suburbs. It's also where I was 
introduced to the music of the Sex 
Pistols, the poetry of Dorothy Parker, 
and to a wide variety of what we now 
call alternative lifestyles. Since I left 
Kansas City, the Bijou changed hands, 
closed, and reopened under new man- 
agement with a new name, the Tivoli. 
The Tivoli has since relocated a couple 
of blocks away into a new building 
with four screens. 

In the years since my days at the 
Bijou, there have been many changes 
in the exhibition of independent 
films. National arthouse chains like 
the Angelika and Landmark have 
arisen. Film festivals, beyond 
Sundance and the New York Film 
Festival, have blossomed into major 
venues for independent work. And 
the larger festivals have become 
major media events and markets for 
independent work. 

The fact that there are venues 
across the country screening non- 
Hollywood fare is in some ways just as 
important as the fact that there are 
people out there creating alternative 
media. Without these screens there 
would be very few ways to share inde- 
pendent work. But it is never easy to 
keep a small business afloat. That's 
why we chose to dedicate this issue of 
The Independent to looking at exhibi- 
tion, whether it be in small calendar 
houses, film festivals, or nontradition- 
al venues. 



To help you better understand how 
their projects make it from an enve- 
lope dropped in the mailbox onto the 
festival screen, Aaron Krach investi- 
gated "Unlocking the Secrets of the 
Screening Committee" (see pg. 44). 
Since independent distributors proba- 
bly know more than anybody else 
about the climate of the arthouse 
scene, Ray Pride talked to several of 
them about their take on the field (see 
pg. 47). Meanwhile I set out discover 
the recent changes to the awards for 
theatrically distributed documen- 
taries, better known as the Oscars, for 
best documentary (see pg. 40). 

We are also introducing a new 
department, Policy. This month, 
Ernesto Martinez highlights several 
different legislative and business ini- 
tiatives that are on the forefront of the 
battle between those who are trying to 
create a cultural common ground and 
the industries that are attempting to 
control media works as a commodity 
(see pg. 51). This new department will 
give us a place to take a more in-depth 
look at media arts policy issues rather 
than reporting on them solely as dis- 
crete news events. 

Exhibition is such a wide and varied 
subject that we have barely scratched 
the surface. We did not have the space 
to talk about microcinemas, or college 
screening programs, or museums, or 
any number of other places and ways 
people see movies. But as our First 
Person writer for the month, Phil 
Hartman of the Pioneer Theater in 
New York City (see pg. 13), might put 
it: We at The Independent salute you 
and your increasing fellows who 
refuse to accept less-challenging 
entertainment in exchange for being 
stadium-sat and super-sized. And we 
commend exhibitors that continue to 
show high-risk material and offer real 
butter. 

Thank you for supporting The 
Independent, 

Maud Kersnowski 




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Even the U.S. Senate is more 
progressive than Hollywood. 



rww. guerrillagirls.com 



FEMALE FILM DIRECTORS: 4% 



Guerrilla Girls Take On 
Film Industry Sexism 



By Charlie Sweitzer 




rom our billboard last year 
we were invited on a few 
conservative radio talk 
shows, which really sur- 
prised us," says the Kathe Kollwitz of 
the Guerrilla Girls, an anonymous 
feminist arts agitation group. "But 
we learned something really interest- 
ing—the only thing ultra-conserva- 
tives hate more than feminism is the 
film industry! So they're our new 
best friends!" 

The Guerrilla Girls, a group of 
activists whose public appearances are 
marked by anonymity, gorilla masks, 
and a healthy intolerance for institu- 
tional sexism, are not the sort of "new 
best friends" one might imagine 
alongside Rush Limbaugh. Last year, 
to protest the generally horrifying 
state of affairs facing women in 
Hollywood, in association with the 
anonymous group of women in the 
film industry, Alice Locas, they 
designed and displayed a billboard 
featuring the "Anatomically Correct 
Oscar"— he's white and male, "just like 
the guys who win!" 

This year's billboard, which was on 
display throughout March at the cor- 

Trent L'Ottscar billboard was on display 
at the corner of Melrose and Highland 
in LA throughout March. 



ner of Melrose and Highland in Los 
Angeles, featured the "Trent 
L'Ottscar," honoring the fact that 
"even the US Senate is more progres- 
sive than Hollywood." (Fourteen per- 
cent of the Senate is female, while 
four percent of last year's one hun- 
dred top-grossing films were directed 
by women.) 

"If you say, 'Is Hollywood an old 
boys' network?' they'll say, 'Yeah, yeah, 
yeah— it's all people and their cousins 
and their uncles and this and that," 
says Kollwitz (all the Girls take the 
names of dead female artists; others 
include Frida Kahlo and Rosalind 
Franklin). "[And] even though they'll 
admit that, they'll still say there aren't 
any good women film directors. . . . 
They still want to believe that the 
fields of culture are meritocracies 
above it all." 

The Guerrilla Girls commenced 
operations eighteen years ago, "when 
statistics in the art world were as bad 
as they are in the film world today." 
Their earliest protests were aimed 
squarely at the art world, including 
1989's famous "Do women have to be 
naked to get into the Met Museum?" 
piece. Originally commissioned as a 
billboard by New York's Public Art 
Fund (PAF), the project was later 



FILM STATS FROM IAUZEN STUDY OF 100 TOP FILMS 



rejected. "The PAF said our design 
wasn't clear enough," explains the 
Girls' website. Finally PAF rented 
space on the sides of New York buses 
(until the bus company deemed the 
image "too suggestive"). The piece— 
Ingre's Odalisque with a gorilla head- 
was accompanied by a pair of uncom- 
fortable statistics: "Less than five per- 
cent of the artists in the Modern Art 
sections are women, but eighty-five 
percent of the nudes are female." 

"Over the years, people have said to 
us, 'Are we quota queens?'" says 
Kollwitz. "And we've never complained 
about statistics that were even twenty, 
thirty percent. But when statistics are 
this low, something is at work." 

Beyond the Oscar protests (which 
included some covert work putting up 
Guerrilla Girls stickers in the bath- 
rooms at the venue, the Kodak 
Theatre), 2003 will be a busy year for 
the Guerrillas. In addition to the 
Girls' numerous appearances at col- 
leges and universities, later this year 
Penguin will publish Bitches, Bimbos, 
and Ball-Breakers: the Guerrilla Girls 
Illustrated Guide to Female Stereotypes 
and The Guerrilla Girls Guide to New 
York City Museums, a comic book 
which will teach you how to go to 
museums "the Guerrilla Girls way," 
which Kollwitz says includes "under- 
standing why what you see on the 
walls is what you see. . . . 

"I think there's something about 
culture, there's something about the 
stereotypes of who the creative geniuses 



April 2003 j The Independent 9 




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are, that die really hard," she says. 
"And culture's just lagging behind the 
rest of society. . . . It's just ridiculous 
that the film industry, which is sup- 
posed to be hip and edgy and cool, is 
so out-of-date." 

To learn more about the Guerrilla Girls, visit 
their website at www.guerrillagirls.com. 

SAG and AFTRA 
Poised to Unite 

Following months of talks, years of 
speculation, and a recent failed 
attempt, the Screen Actors Guild 
(SAG) and the American Federation of 
Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) 
announced on February 8 their 
boards' near-unanimous resolution to 
draft plans to merge the two unions, 
citing as their principle reasons "rapid 
industry and technological changes" 
and "the gross inefficiency of parallel 
operating structures." 

The "new" union will operate over 
three Affiliates: Actors, Broadcasters, 
and Recording Artists. In the boards' 
report, they anticipate "that in the 
future, other organizations representing 
performers and media artists may be 
invited to consolidate and affiliate fol- 
lowing the creation of [the new union]." 

The two unions have a significant 
overlap between their memberships. 
Of the 150,000 total workers who cur- 
rently belong to SAG and AFTRA, 
more than 40,000 belong to both— 
sixty percent of AFTRA's members 
also belong to SAG, and forty percent 
of SAG 's members belong to AFTRA. 

The unions' next step was to draft a 
constitution, along with a business 
plan and plans for implementation 
and transition. These were presented 
to the joint boards of directors on 
April 5. Once approved by both 
boards, all members of both unions 
will vote on whether to approve the 
plan and merge. To pass, the plan 
must be approved by sixty percent of 
each union. In 1999, a similar merger 
between SAG and AFTRA was voted 
down in referendum. It passed 
AFTRA, but not SAG. 



Today, though, there is good reason 
to believe the merger will be approved. 
"We are in the midst of a crisis," says 
Jayne Wallace, AFTRA's national com- 
munications director. "The economy 
sucks. Like everybody else, unions are 
impacted by this kind of thing. . . . 
Wouldn't we save money by combin- 
ing resources?" 

Digital video— only a "theoretical" 
concern, according to Wallace, in 
1999— has also become a major factor 
and, at times, a point of contention 
between the two unions. Robert L. 
Seigel, attorney at law, sees the merger 
as "an inevitable consequence of such 
factors as the growth of digital video, 
and whether a format indicates 
whether a project is a movie or not." 
Last year, dispute broke out between 
SAG and AFTRA over negotiating a 
series of Fox pilots shot on digital 
video. Seigel says that further confu- 
sion can come from the fact that many 
films originally shot and intended for 
theatrical release are now distributed 
via television or DVD. Wallace com- 
ments, "Our relationship [with SAG] is 
based on technology that is obsolete." 

The union will continue to honor 
all contracts by SAG and AFTRA, 
including low-budget production 
contracts that many independent pro- 
ducers use for their union cast mem- 
bers. Ilyanne Kichaven, SAG's national 
director of communications, points 
out: "One of the principles [of the 
merger] is the continuation and seam- 
less transition of all SAG and AFTRA 
collective bargaining agreements. 
Therefore, low-budget agreements 
continue under the Actors Affiliate of 
the new union." 

"The impact of the proposed merg- 
er on many performers who are in 
SAG will be minimal," says Seigel, 
"since SAG generally provides compa- 
rable economic treatment to those 
professional performers who are in 
other unions." 

As a result of the merger, producers 
will probably have an easier time 
obtaining archival footage. In the 



10 The Independent | April 2003 







past, this often meant having to 
determine whether fees were due to 
SAG or AFTRA, or both. Though 
Kichaven stresses nothing has been 
determined yet ("details of the Actors 
Affiliate are in the process of being 
discussed"), Wallace says the process 
of obtaining archival footage will 
"theoretically" become easier. 
"Certainly, we believe that any consol- 
idation of our services will streamline 
[such processes] for anyone we have 
to negotiate with," she says. 

"Fat Girl" Fights 
Censors ana Wins 

Fat Girl, Catherine Breillat's critically 
acclaimed 2001 film, returned to 
Canada on February 21 after a pro- 
tracted battle with the country's cen- 
sorship laws. The film, which deals 
with adolescent sex, rape, and murder, 
was initially denied a rating by the 
Ontario Film Review Board (Canada's 
rough equivalent to the Motion 
Picture Association of America). In 
Canada, the distribution or exhibition 
of unrated films is illegal. Fat Girl, like 
Breillat's 1999 film Romance, was dis- 
tributed in the United States without 
an MPAA rating. 

Fat Girl received its Canadian debut 
at the Toronto International Film 
Festival in 2001 and briefly played in 
theaters in several Canadian provinces 
before the board made its ruling in 

Ana'i's (Ana'i's Reboux) and Elena 
(Roxanne Mesquida) on the beach in 
Catherine Breillat's Canadian film 
board pariah Far Girl. 




November 2001. The 
board cited Ontario's 
1993 Theaters Act's 
Regulation 1031, which 
prohibits "a scene 
where a person who is 
or is intended to repre- 
sent a person under the 
age of eighteen years 
appears (i) nude or par- 
tially nude in a sexually 
suggestive context, or 
(ii) in a scene of explicit 
sexual activity." 

Cowboy Pictures and Lions Gate 
Films, Fat Girl's distributors, 
appealed the board's decision, citing 
the board's past approval of such 
films as Lolita and Kids, and remind- 
ing the board of its approval, follow- 
ing an initial ban, of Romance. The 
distributors also challenged the con- 
stitutionality of the board's power. 
Though Canada's constitution does 
not guarantee precisely the same 
rights as the United States' First 
Amendment, it does grant Canadian 
citizens "freedom of thought, belief, 
opinion, and expression, including 
freedom of the press and other media 
of communication." 

A hearing had been scheduled for 
February 2003, but the board re-invited 
the distributors to submit Fat Girl for 
rating. The hearing was dropped after 
the film was rated, but doubt still 
remains as to the constitutionality of 
board's decisions. In a press release, 
Cowboy Pictures's lawyer, Craig 
Martin, says: "We need to ask why it is 
that we have legislation that confers 
on a board of part-time employees 
with no particular expertise the power 
to ban films in the province." 

This is not Breillat's first brush 
with controversy. Her first novel, 
L'bomme facile, was given an adults- 
only rating by the French government, 
which meant the then seventeen-year- 
old author could not legally purchase 
a copy of her own book. □ 

Charlie Sweitzer is a New York-based writer 
and intern at The Independent. 




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Outgunned, 
But Unbowed 

INDIE EXHIBITORS MAKE A STAND 
By Philip Hartman 



ndie exhibitors are the Gary 
Coopers of the exhibition busi- 
ness. Outnumbered and out- 
gunned in the High Noon show- 
down against megaplexes, video 
superstores, and cable TV, indie cine- 
mas heroically fight back with beer 
and pizza, raffles and contests, or by 
turning the theater lobby into a cafe 
or a copy center. Lonely outposts on 
an often forbidding frontier, the 



Serving beer, burgers, and more in an 
informal setting, the Alamo Theaters 
offer a madhouse mixture of vintage 
and first-run programs— at three area 
locations— all sharing the owners' 
idiosyncratic point of view. Where else 
can you experience Weird Wednesdays 
and enjoy (or is it endure?) a free 
screening of Black Gestapo? Spaghetti 
Westerns come with all-you-can-eat 
spaghetti, focaccia, and Caesar salad. 



(born in 2000), the Pioneer has 
quickly become an important advo- 
cate for American independent films, 
often showcasing worthy work with- 
out distributors. Partnering with the 
IFP, Slamdance, DocShop, and 
Cinema Tropical has given the 
Pioneer access to a wide cross-section 
of the indie film community, but 
unfortunately, with forty-six screens 
within walking distance of its East 
Village location, access to first-rate 
first-run indie product has been 
harder to come by. Hence the onset 
of relationships with a couple of new 
partners: Blue Underground and 
Sleazoid Express, two enterprises 
reviving vintage exploitation films 
from the seventies. The Pioneer 
hopes that adding some spice to its 




Lonely outposts on an often forbidding frontier, 

the indie cinema remains a sanctuary for the 

moviegoing iconoclasts, for the cinematic adventurers 

who refuse to be stadium-sat for studio blockbusters 

or supersized into buckets of popcorn and root beer. 



indie cinema remains a sanctuary for 
the moviegoing iconoclasts, for the 
cinematic adventurers who refuse to 
be stadium-sat for studio block- 
busters or supersized into buckets of 
popcorn and root beer. 

This amazing amalgam of heteroge- 
neous venues, over four hundred- 
strong nation-wide, is constantly 
adapting to new challenges. As 
megaplexes proliferate but become 
utterly interchangeable, Omaha 
equaling Miami equaling Butte, the 
indie theater seeks to make itself 
utterly unique; through its program- 
ming, its decor, its concessions, its 
personality. Utilizing a crazy mix of 
fifties showmanship, sixties art house 
ambiance, and seventies sleaze, the 
indie theater is determined to survive. 

The heyday of fifties showmanship 
is well represented by the Alamo 
Drafthouse Theaters in Austin, Texas. 



And you'll never mistake yourself for 
being in a mall multiplex as you enjoy 
Hong Kong Cinema and Cuisine. 

The venerable Brattle Theater in 
Boston represents the more tradi- 
tional sixties arthouse approach. A 
long-time Cambridge institution, the 
Brattle has offered a heady mix of rep 
and first-run for over thirty years. 
Tradition is important here, with It's 
A Wonderful Life marking Christmas, 
and Valentine's Day celebrated with 
Casablanca. But topical programs are 
also featured, like the Boston Faith 
and Film Festival earlier this year, 
which provided a much-needed 
opportunity to reflect on the scan- 
dals shaking the community's reli- 
gious institutions. 

An experiment in seventies sleaze 
(in the best sense of the word) is tak- 
ing place at the Pioneer Theater in 
New York City. A relative newcomer 



mix of art and indie films will diver- 
sify (and yes, titillate) its audience. 

Perhaps most creative of all, and an 
example of, shall we say, eighties inge- 
nuity, is the Northwest Film Forum 
(NWFF) in Seattle, Washington. With 
two screens, the Little Theatre and 
the Grand Illusion, as well as the 
state's largest filmmaking coopera- 
tive, Wigglyworld Studios, the NWFF 
appeals to both filmmakers and film- 
goers. Playing a hi-lo programming 
game, both Guy Maddin and Hell Hole 
High can (and do!) appear on the same 
calendar, and gallery shows, live per- 
formances, seminars, and panels all 
complement the screenings to 
explode the role of the traditional cin- 
ema into a multipurpose, multi-use 
arts emporium. 

Arriving like the cavalry in a John 
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of Independent Cinemas (LINC). A 
national coalition of independently 
owned and operated theaters, LINC 
will work to ensure the survival and 
success of member exhibitors across 
the country. Part trade group, part 
group therapy, LINC will operate 
under the theory that there's securi- 
ty in numbers— and leverage, too. By 
establishing relationships with 
filmmakers, distributors, film festi- 
vals, vendors, and most of all each 
other, indie theater owners— the for- 
gotten link in the indie food chain- 
will be able to improve the experi- 
ence for filmgoers, as well as their 
own bottom line. 

LINC's broad-based advisory board 
is made up of theater owners from 
across the country, as well as forward- 
thinking distributors like Cowboy 
Pictures and Magnolia Pictures, and 
filmmaker organizations like the IFP, 
AIVF, and Slamdance. The first annu- 
al convention is planned for October 
of 2003 in NYC, and will include 
an Indie Showman/woman of the 
Year Award, as well as panels, parties, 
and screenings. 

From the Zeitgeist in New Orleans 
to the Roxy in San Francisco, from the 
Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor to the 
Pleasant Street Cinema in 
Northampton, indie exhibitors con- 
tinue to find creative ways to offer 
alternatives to the public. The nature 
of "independent film" has dramatical- 
ly changed in the last ten years as 
Hollywood and the big theater chains 
have co-opted both the term and the 
concept. True "independent films" are 
an endangered species, and only a 
determined effort by truly independ- 
ent theaters can help save them and 
ensure that a truly alternative 
moviegoing experience thrives deep 
into the twenty-first century. Are the 
odds against us? Maybe— but the odds 
were against Gary Cooper, too. D 

Filmmaker Phil Hartman (No Picnic, Eerie) 

is co-owner of the Two Boots Pioneer Theater in 

NYC and interim executive director of LINC. 

To reach him, send e-mail to phil@solidlinc.com. 



14 The Independent | April 2003 



profile 



Astria Suparak 

EXPERIMENTAL MEDIA CURATOR AS ROCK STAR 
By Matt Wolf 



Clad in a puffy fur coat and 
standing at five foot two 
inches, Astria Suparak 
may look like a rock star, 
but the ethos of a hardcore film nerd 
rumbles inside. At age twenty-four, 
Astria Suparak has already invented 
an unstoppable experimental film 
enterprise. She is aggressively building 
sexy niches for visceral and demand- 
ing new films and videos by cutting- 
edge artists from around the world 
who may seem freaky or misplaced in 
traditional art- or film-world con- 
texts. Last year Suparak traveled to 
over fifty venues across the nation and 
abroad. From contemporary art muse- 
ums to microcinemas, sports bars to 
Harvard classrooms, Suparak intro- 
duces all her programs in person, 
whether the audience is eager stu- 
dents, or the quieter bunch who con- 
verge in the dark corners and parking 
lots of undiscovered art worlds. 

Growing up in Los Angeles in the 
nineties, Suparak was entrenched in 
the Riot Grrrl scene and influenced by 
the do-it-yourself feminist ideology of 
her peers. She began her curating 
career at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute. 
Dissatisfied with departmental divi- 
sions and old ways of thinking, She 
founded a weekly avant garde media 
series that showcased film, video, and 
multimedia works by experimental 
artists and musicians. 

When approaching artists and dis- 
tributors, the teenager lied about her 
age and booked shows via e-mail, con- 
cerned that established professionals 
in a boy's world would question her 
curatorial legitimacy. "I tried to cover 
up that I was a teenager, a student, 



Brooklyn-based curator Astria Suparak 
takes experimental film to the people. 



and I wasn't from a film background. 
E-mail enabled me to be age, gender, 
and ethnicity ambiguous." 

The series expanded rapidly, and soon 
audiences from outside of the student 
body were venturing to Brooklyn to view 
her edgy presentations. Pratt grumbled 
antagonistically and contested her stu- 
dent-initiated series, but each semester, 
Suparak staged a healthy fight and kept 
the program running. Ultimately she pre- 
sented over one hundred shows, but her 
venues soon stretched beyond academia 
She presented programs at institutions 
like P.S.I, the Museum of Modern Art's 
contemporary art affiliate, and the New 
York Underground Film Festival. She also 
embarked on a tour with performance 
and video artist Miranda July and music 
collaborator Zac Love in the fall of 2000. 

When she was twenty-three, 
Suparak again proved the eclecticism 
of her curatorial verse and mixed 
established hardball film abstraction- 
ists with conceptual video artists in a 
program accompanied by the live 
music of Boxhead Ensemble. The ever- 
changing group of Chicago post-rock 
music stars toured with Suparak on a 
bus, making performance pit stops at 
cinematheques and rock clubs in dif- 
ferent countries each day. Suparak 
grabbed on to the curator-as-rock-star 
model and is using it to bring alterna- 
tive artist film and video to new audi- 
ences around the world. 

This fall, Suparak traveled solo on 
an extensive tour through the South, 
Southwest, East Coast, and Mexico. 
Sites ranged from the Museo Tamayo 
Arte Contemporaneo in Mexico City 
to the basement of an old pie factory 
in Boston. She presented and remixed 
two travelling programs, Dirges and 
Sturgeons, and Looking is Better than 
Feeling You, plus a special presenta- 



tion for Mexico City audiences: 
Adolescent Boys, and Living Rooms. 

Dirges and Sturgeons originated as a 
project commissioned by experimental 
film legend Jonas Mekas at Anthology 
Film Archives in New York City. "Jonas 
said the concepts and aesthetics in my 
shows were fresh and innovative and he 
wanted me to bring that energy to 
Anthology," she says. In Dirges, Suparak 
includes a heady mix of lo-fi videoworks 
from the sampled pastiche of video 




freaks Animal Charm to Miranda July's 
emotive abstract narrative. She tactfully 
wrangles Bjorn Melhus' avant-fantasy 
worlds and Seth Price's crypto-theoreti- 
cal digital landscapes in logical configu- 
rations which combine new technology 
and 1980's nu-romantic nostalgia. The 
program notes read: "YACHT: Young 
Artists Challenge High Technology (for 
a Total eclipse of the heart)." 

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Bay Area, part of the growing interna- 
tional movement of feminist political 
art festivals, asked Suparak to curate a 
program of short videos by women 
artists. Next to performances by she- 
rockers like The Gossip and Sleater- 
Kinney, Astria showed works by veteran 
feminist filmmakers like Kathy High 
and gallery regulars Karen Yasinsky 
and Shannon Plumb, including also 
lesser-known emerging artist and stu- 
dent videos. The program re-imagines 
feminist art history with Dara 
Greenwald's smart revision of Bruce 
Nauman's video performance, but 
also treads through new terrain in 
Jacqueline Goss' anthropomorphic 
adventure theory. Suparak's curatori- 
al choices indicate a personal video art 
aesthetic that is accessible, immediate, 
and purposefully absurd. 

She consistently draws large, sold- 
out crowds to her screenings. In 
Mexico City, people were lined up out- 
side of the museum two hours before 
the screenings. The enormous Victoria 
Theater in San Francisco was packed 
for Ladyfest's opening night. Even tiny 
screenings in obscure locales such as a 
sports bar in Texas, get filled. "E-mail! I 
harass audiences in each town for their 
e-mail addresses, and I have built a 
complex system of mailing lists. Each 
time I return to a town, previous view- 
ers arrive with a friend, and the audi- 
ence grows," she explains. 

The rock-star model works. Suparak 
attaches her now-recognized name to 
programs of obscure art. She charms 
hip art students and cinephiles, even 
the occasional groupie, at intimate class 
presentations, followed by more public 
screenings at city venues throughout 
the week. Word-of-mouth builds 
momentum, and audiences report back 
with glowing approval. Without a tradi- 
tional budget or funding, she relies on 
income at the door or limited support 
from small arts organizations. She can't 
guarantee her artists rental fees, but she 

Bj0rn Melhus' Das Zaberglas is part of 
Suparak's Dirges & Sturgeons show. 




delivers extensive feedback from the 
road and publicizes the work as few 
other curators in the field can. Suparak 
is bringing noncommercial, alternative, 
and feminist art to the masses. 

Of course life on the road is not 
filled with the comforts of a Rolling 
Stones farewell tour. Suparak has her 
share of horror stories. She rerouted a 
tour through the South to avoid hur- 
ricanes after catching a nine-hour ride 
from strangers to her next stop. She 
slept on the floor of a kitchen in New 
Orleans, where a small colony of 
house cats walked and urinated over 
her. Nomadic and friendly, Suparak 
finds herself sweet-talking new friends 
for a lift from one obscure site to the 
next, because she is absolutely deter- 
mined to bring you, your friends, and 
your family good experimental film. 

Originally Spuarak's goal was to 
curate for a larger institution, but inde- 
pendence has its benefits. "I can spend 
time nursing a smaller amount of very 
tight shows. I like the versatility and 
challenges with creating custom pro- 
grams for specific audiences and loca- 
tions," explains Suparak, who is cur- 
rently organizing shows for the Yale 
School of Architecture and an upcom- 
ing festival at the Chicago Cultural 
Center. She continues to plan a spring 
tour through the Midwest, California, 
East Coast, and Canada and looks for- 
ward to an extensive European jaunt 
through Italy, Belgium, England, and 
France in the late summer. D 

Check it out: www.astriasuparak.com 

Matt Wolf is a filmmaker and writer 
in New York City. 



16 The Independent | April 2003 



profile 



Beth Harrington 

TELLING THE LEGEND OF ROCKABILLY WOMEN 
By Charlie Sweitzer 



I t's been said that every film- 

; maker secretly wants to be a 

rock star, and vice versa. Beth 

I Harrington has been both. In 

what she calls "a former lifetime," she 

performed with Jonathan Richman 

and the Modern Lovers. She's since 

worked on an array of documentary 

programs, from NOVA to Frontline to 

Health Quarterly. But her most recent 

independent documentary, Welcome 

to the Club: The Women of Rockabilly, 

finds her with a foot planted squarely 

each world. 

"You always wind up making films 
and thinking they're about somebody 
else, and then you find out they're 




about you, on some level," says 
Harrington, whose previous film {The 
Blinking Madonna and Other Miracles) 
was largely autobiographical. 

Rockabilly— a vigorous cross-polli- 
nation of R&B, country, and "hillbilly" 



Left: Wanda Jackson, America's "Number 
One Party Girl," and Right: Lorrie and Larry 
Collins are subjects of Beth Harrington's 
documentary Welcome to the Club— 
The Women of Rockabilly. 



music— is considered the forerunner 
of rock and roll. It's also largely 
remembered as the province of men 
like Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins. 
But Harrington was introduced to 
the feminine side of rockabilly twenty 
years ago, through a compilation 
album. "With a few exceptions I did- 
n't know the women on the antholo- 
gy and I thought that was really 
weird, because I followed music really 
closely." she says. 

Weirder still, it turns out these 
women were celebrities— £>zg celebrities— 
in their own time. Janis Martin was so 
loved by Elvis Presley that she was given 
permission directly from the King to 
tout herself as "the female Elvis." 
Wanda Jackson was described by music 
journalist Nick Tosches as "the greatest 
menstruating rock 'n' roll singer whom 
the world has ever known." 

Harrington was hooked. 

"I'm interested in the way history 
gets told, and how certain stories get 
legitimized by the media," she says. 
"It's also an interesting way of telling 
women's history. Where were we in 
the 1950's, and where are we now? I 
think a lot of younger women are sur- 
prised at some of the things that 
seemed like constraints [to one's 
career] in 1950, like getting married." 

Harrington began Welcome to the 
Club, her second independent feature 
as director, in 1997. In the years since 
her gig with Richman, she worked on 
an assortment of documentary fdms, 
most notably for the Documentary 
Guild, which produces exclusively for 
Boston's WGBH. She credits much of 
her production savvy to her work with 
the Guild. "I learned from [the 
Documentary Guild] the value of real- 
ly conceptualizing what you're doing, 
the value of going on scouting trips, 



and the value of spending time with 
the people who'll be in the film. When 
you're an independent, you sort of feel 
like you need to cut corners some- 
where, and [you think] maybe that's 
where you can cut corners," she says. 
"In fact, that's not where you can cut 
corners. That's the place where you 
shouldn't cut corners." 




Sometimes, though, you have to be 
prepared to go with the flow. Having 
procured just the first chunk of 
money for Welcome to the Club from the 
Pacific Pioneer Fund, which helps 
emerging filmmakers— "people who 
aren't household names," says 
Harrington— in California, Oregon, 
and Washington, Harrington abruptly 
found herself swept into production. 
"Within a week of getting the money, 
Wanda Jackson came to Portland for 
the first time in thirty years. And it 
was like, 'Oh my God— she's here! This 
is meant to be! I've got to go get her!'" 
she says. "I hadn't intended to start 
that quickly, but there she was." 

Harrington later received support 
from the Washington's Artist Trust and 
ITVS (which also funded The Blinking 
Madonna). "It's really hard to get big 
sums of money cold, with just a piece of 



April 2003 | The Independent 17 



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paper," she says. "No matter how well 
your proposal is written, it's so much 
nicer to have material that says, 'Oh, 
look, I shot this interview with Wanda 
Jackson! I went to this concert in Las 
Vegas! I have this archival footage!'" 

Though Harrington says that the 
production was ultimately a pretty 
"even-keeled experience," she did 
encounter her share of obstacles. 
Concurrent to 'Welcome to the Club, she 
was also producing and writing 
Aleutians: Cradle of the Storms, a two- 
hour documentary for Oregon public 
television. For a while she was literally 
split between the two projects, often 
spending one half of the week in the 
Arctic circle and the other half in 
Memphis, Tennessee. 

"Here's a classic freelancer prob- 
lem," she says. "You don't have any 
work for a while, and then all of a sud- 
den you have not one but two proj- 
ects. And they're both really high pro- 
file, and one you really should do 
because it's good for business, and the 
other one you should do because it's 
your baby," she says. "It's a ridiculously 
good problem to have for a change, as 
a filmmaker," she confesses, though at 
the same time she admits she "didn't 
do anything last year." 

Harrington is happy to say she's 

Beth Harrington on set 



started her next film. At the urging of 
Roseanne Cash (who narrates Welcome 
to the Club), she's planning a documen- 
tary on the Carter Family, and will 
interview June Carter soon. 

And despite any difficulties, 
Harrington is more than pleased with 
how Welcome to the Club turned out. 
"The big achievement to me is the 
women who were in it really liked it a 
lot," she says. "It's not necessarily 
something every filmmaker has to 
strive for, depending on what kind of 
film you're making. But for this, it was 
so personal to them, and it was so 
important to do them justice, because 
their story hadn't been told much. 

"Several of them called me and said, 
'People are really seeing this, people 
are really understanding what hap- 
pened to me.' A lot of these women 
have very quiet lives now. They per- 
form, but the people they know in 
their daily life don't really know that 
much about what their experience 
was. So that's kind of cool." 

Since its premiere on PBS in March 
2002, Welcome to the Club has garnered 
increasingly high-profile encomium, 
most notably a Grammy nomination 
for Long Form Music Video. "There are 
104 categories," she says, "and this is 
the 104th category." Her film compet- 
ed against four other (in the words of 
the Grammy ballot) "video album 
packages consisting of more than one 
song or track." These range from a 
Robbie Williams concert video pro- 
duced by Capitol Records to Palm 
Pictures' 1 Giant Leap, a three-years-in- 
the-making world music documentary. 

"I know everyone says the corny 'it's 
an honor to be nominated' line, but in 
this case, it's all gravy. I never expected 
to be nominated for a Grammy award 
under any circumstances, and here I am, 
what a joke," says the former rocker. "At 
this point in my life, I haven't per- 
formed in years! I'm delighted." O 

For info: www.bethharrington.com. 

Charlie Sweitzer is a New York-based writer 
currently interning at The Independent. 



18 The Independent | April 2003 



field report 



San Francisco Screens 

INDIE FILM VENUES OF THE BAY AREA 
By Caitlin Roper 



n her review of Phil Kaufman's 
1978 remake of The Invasion of the 
I Body Snatchers, legendary film 
Hi critic Pauline Kael wrote, "The 
story is set in San Francisco, which is 
the ideally right setting, because of the 
city's traditional hospitality to artists 
and eccentrics." This hospitality 
extends to movie venues. With its 
wealth of alternative screening spaces, 
San Francisco is one of the most wel- 
coming cities in the country for non- 
Hollywood film. 

The Bay Area's openness to ideas 
and diversity is rooted in its history. In 
1849, when the Gold Rush was in full 
effect, San Francisco was a wild, color- 
ful city that attracted people willing to 
stake everything on a shot at fortune 
in the shape of a shiny gold nugget. 
Many of the Forty-Niners deserted 
stodgier pasts to strike it rich. This 
legacy of eccentricity is still evident in 
the residents of Northern California. 
Daring artist types continue to flock 
to the City by the Bay. San Francisco's 
heritage of experimentalism remains 
clear in its residents' continued 
patronage of art houses and inde- 
pendent cinemas. 

Roxie Cinema 

The Roxie is the oldest continually 
operating movie theater in San 
Francisco. It has a long and illustri- 
ous history. In 1909 it opened its 
doors as the C.H. Brown Theater, it 
was The Poppy in 1913, The New 
16th Street in 1918, The Rex in 1920, 
The Gem in 1926, The Gaiety in 
1930, and finally became The Roxie 
Cinema in 1933-34. In 1976, after 
having spent a brief period as a porn 
house, the theater was taken over by 

The historic Castro Theatre, San Francisco 



manager Robert Evans, who began 
programming the independent, for- 
eign, and domestic art and esoterica 
which one still finds today, according 
to the Roxie's current helmsman, 
Rick Norris. 

In 1983, Bill Banning bought the 
Roxie. He also created Roxie Releasing 
as a means to show films that did not 
have distribution and to create a sup- 
plemental income for the 
theater. Over the years, 
Roxie Releasing has distrib- 
uted George A. Romero's 
Night of the Living Dead, Nick 
Broomfield's Kurt and 
Courtney (see pg. 33), Matthew 
Bright's Freeway, the Maysles' 
Gimme Shelter, John Dahl's 
Red Rock West, and the latest 
Roxie Release, Rivers and 
Tides: Andy Goldsworthy: Working 
With Time. 

Over the years, the Roxie 
has had to struggle to keep 
its doors open. At a 
fundraising event last 
April, ("thanks to the gen- ! Hi 
erosity of the San Francisco 
filmgoing community," 
according to Norris), the 
theater was able to raise 
$35,000. This money 
allowed the Roxie to pay 
back rent and discover Rivers and 
Tides, which has proved a box-office 
success on both coasts. 

The Roxie, located in the heart of 
the Mission, is a277-seat single-screen 
independent art house and revival 
theater with a reputation for showing 
documentaries and maintaining 
strong film noir programming. Their 
colorful, double-sided monthly calen- 
dar is sent out to a large mailing list, 
delivered to businesses all over San 



Francisco, and available in the the- 
ater's lobby. Films generally screen for 
one to three days, with occasional 
weeklong runs. The theater does 
"four-walling," playing host to film 
festivals like this year's San Francisco 
Indie Fest, as well as one-night exhibi- 
tions and cast and crew screenings. 

www.roxie.com 

3117 1 6th Street at Valencia, San Francisco; 

(415) 863-1087 

The Castro Theatre 

"Some of the most memorable cul- 
tural events of my life have taken 
place at the Castro," says Daniel 
Wohlfeiler, chairman of the board of 




the San Francisco Jewish Film 
Festival. He cites several examples. 
The sing-along Sound of Music was 
unforgettable, as was the Jewish Film 
Festival screening of Trembling Before 
G-d after which a gay actor who is 
shown seeking (unsuccessfully) the 
acceptance of his rabbi several times 
in the film came onstage with a rabbi 
and a lively Q&A ensued. 

"Everybody I know loves when the 
organist plays San Francisco Open Your 



April 2003 | The Independent 19 



Golden Gates before a screening," says 
Wohlfeiler. The pipe organ, an 
immense Wurlitzer finally assembled 
in 1982 from parrs found far and 
wide, inspires even the most cynical 
moviegoers co reverence. As does the 
Castro's impressive decor. The theater, 
which was designated a registered 
landmark in 1977, is considered one 
of the best and most well-preserved 
examples of a 1920's movie palace. 

Timothy L. Pflueger (1894-1946), a 
celebrated figure in Bay Area architec- 
ture whose career began with the 
commission of the Castro, designed 
the theater, which was built in 1922. 
He borrowed fancifully from many 
styles. The theater seats more than 
1,400 under a breathtaking plaster 
cast, richly painted ceiling that looks 
like an elaborate oriental cloth 
canopy. Colorful murals adorn the 
auditorium walls. The Castro has 
recenth' undergone a renovation that 



included replacing its famously 
uncomfortable seats and fixing its 
striking vertical marquee. 

The Castro hosts many local film 
festivals, including the San Francisco 
International Film Festival and the 
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. 
The theater's regular programming is 
a mixture of foreign films, vintage 
classics, and art and independent 
films. The Castro's thoughtful pro- 
gramming offers regular interviews 
with filmmakers. Recent visitors 
include independent producer 
Christine Vachon (Velvet Goldmine, Far 
From Heaven, I Shot Andy Warhol, Boys 
Don't Cry, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) 
and documentarians Rob Epstein and 
Jeffrey Friedman (The Times of Harvey 
Milk, Common Threads: Stories from the 
Quilt, The Celluloid Closet). 

www.thecastrotheatre.com 

429 Castro Street, San Francisco; 

(415) 621-6120 



Pacific Film Archives 

The Pacific Film Archives' (PFA) pro- 
gramming is nothing short of daz- 
zling. In one month the Archives 
showed selections from the Children's 
International Film Festival, the Bay 
Area High School Film & Video 
Festival, the Human Rights Watch 
Festival, a Gus Van Sant tribute fea- 
turing films such as Mala Noche, 
Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private 
Idaho, and To Die For, and hosted a visit 
from the director himself. The 
Archives also screened selections from 
the Deaf Film Festival, films in a pro- 
gram called Czechoslovakian Gems, 
and other one-night stands. 

Director Edith Kramer, who, 
together with Kathy Geritz, Steve 
Seid, and Mona Nagai, programs the 
PFA, demurs when complimented and 
asked how the group, which meets 
weekly to discuss ideas and work out 
their upcoming programs, manages 



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20 The Independent | April 2003 



month after month to present such a 
broad range of films. "It is our job," 
she says. "It begins with an unholy 
passion for cinema. It is an obsession. 
Video, art, the technology, the art of 
the moving image, the endless non- 
stop viewing of everything you can 
see. We are constantly consuming." 

The PFA is housed with the 
Berkeley Art Museum on the south- 
ernmost edge of the UC Berkeley 
campus. The theater is more func- 
tional than phenomenal; no match 
for the PFA's remarkable program- 
ming and beautiful, carefully chosen 
film prints. But that's only tempo- 
rary, as plans for a new museum and 
theater are underway. 

On the PFA's website, Kelly Vance, 
associate editor and film critic at the 
East Bay Express, offers "I Wake Up 
Screening: An Appreciation of PFA." 

"I've often thought my ideal job 
would be to cover the Pacific Film 
Archive exclusively, to report on its 
film programs and no others, perhaps 
(in my fantasy scenario) to rig up 
some sort of apartment in the Archive 
where I could go to sleep and wake up 
thinking of movies and never, ever 
miss a showing," he says. 

Says Kramer: "I love our audiences, 
watching them experience and ques- 
tion and deal with what we've present- 
ed. It's a little like the chef coming out 
of the kitchen to see what people 
think of the food." Bon appetit. 

www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/pfa 
2575 Bancroft Way, Berkeley; 
(510)642-1412 

Some Other Options 

There are so many notable film ven- 
ues in the Bay Area; it is hard to com- 
pile a list, because you are sure to 
leave out someone's favorite. In the 
East Bay, Oakland is home to both 
the Historic Grand Lake Theater, and 
the Parkway Theater. 

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Sponsored by The Suffolk County Department of Economic Development 
Robert J. Gaffney, County Executive 

Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center 
May 8th-llth, 2003 

Call or Write for Entry Forms (Due 4/1/03) 

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P.O. Box 13243 • Hauppauge, NY 11788 

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The theater has an enormous audito- 
rium, with a balcony, massive, 
sparkling chandelier, and a Wurlitzer 
organ that is played briefly before 
selected weekend screenings of first- 
run Hollywood films. 

The Parkway Theater is a commu- 
nity theater that bills itself as a drive- 
in-like experience indoors, featuring 
"pizza, pub, and picture." The theater 
doubles as a restaurant, with an 
extensive menu accompanied by pre- 
mium beer and wine. The Parkway 
offers two theaters with comfortable 
loveseat sofas and cocktail tables with 
chairs convenient for eating and view- 




ing. The Parkway is a popular date 
destination, but it is also loved for its 
Baby Night/Cry Room, where parents 
are encouraged to bring infants less 
than a year old. Patrons can avoid 
paying babysitters and don't have to 
fear angry groans if their babies let 
out a wail. 

Back across the bay in San 
Francisco is the worker owned and 
operated, 140-seat Red Vic Movie 
House, in the middle of Haight- 
Ashbury. This theater shows a wide 
range of second-run Hollywood films, 
classic, art, independent and docu- 
mentary films. "It's a very casual place, 
with padded church pews. It's a collec- 
tive," says Gary Meyer, cofounder of 
Landmark Theatres and a local film 
venue expert. 

The Foreign Cinema, is a stylish 
restaurant and bar that offers three 
evening shows of one film projected 
on a large wall in their courtyard. 
Watching a film outdoors here is most 



22 The Independent | April 2003 




appealing in summer, when the 
evening temperatures only require a 
sweater, rather than a down jacket. 

Artists' Television Access, is a 
dependable venue for true independ- 
ent film and video in the Mission. 
ATA is a nonprofit organization run 
by volunteers since the eighties. It is a 
resource for artists working in film 
and video and offers classes and access 
to low-cost editing equipment as well 
as screenings of new work. 

Microcinema International's Bay 
Area homebase is 1 1 1 Minna Gallery, 
111 Minna Street, between Howard 
and Mission (ph.: (415) 864-0660). 
Cofounder and curator Joel S. Bachar 
offers "Independent Exposure" on the 
last Monday of every month. It is a 60- 
to 90-minute program of short film, 
videos and digital work from around 
the world. The program is coproduced 
by the Film Arts Foundation. 

The Yerba Buena Center for the 
Arts offers a screening room where 
patrons can enjoy independent, ethni- 
cally diverse films they are unlikely to 
find elsewhere. D 

Clockwise: Parkway Theater, Foreign 
Cinema, and the Grand Lobby of the Yerba 
Buena Center for the Arts. 



Historic Grand Lake Theater, 3200 Grand 
Ave.; (510) 452-3556; 
www.renaissancerialto.com/current/grandlake.htm 

Parkway Theater, 1834 Park Blvd.; 
(510) 814-2400; www.picturepubpizza.com 

Red Vic Movie House, 1 727 Haight St.; 
(415) 668-3994) 

The Foreign Cinema, 2534 Mission St.; 
(415) 648-7600 

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 

701 Mission; (415) 978-ARTS. 

Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia St.; 
(415) 824-3890 

Originally from Berkeley, California, Caitlin 

Roper currently lives in NYC, where she is a 

freelance writer, editor, and filmmaker. 




April 2003 | The Independent 23 



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Rania Richardson, ed. ; ©2002; $35 / $25 members 



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loannis Mookas, ed. ; ©1999; $30 / $20 members 

•both self-distribution titles $60 / $40 members 

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Ask the 
Documentary Doctor 

WHEN AND HOW TO SHARE UNFINISHED WORK 
By Fernanda Rossi 




Dear Doc Doctor: 
I have a fifteen- 
minute cut of a 
one-hour docu- 
mentary, and the 
editor and I are 
not sure about 
the main story- 
line and characters. Should I have 
a test screening? How many should 
I have? 

Even if you had a perfect fifteen- 
minute opening and all you wanted 
was to practice your speech for the 
Oscars, I would advise you not to 
screen the project so early in the edit- 
ing process. And if you have doubts 
about those fifteen minutes, I would 
suggest even more strongly that you 
not put it in front of an audience. 

The creative process is very deli- 
cate. Even the right comment can 
prove to be destructive if it is said at 
the wrong time. Why risk postscreen- 
ing depression any sooner than nec- 
essary? Rather than asking when or 
how many times to screen, ask your- 
self: Why do you want to show your 
film at this point? 

If the answer is, "to find out how to 
go on," then don't call an army of well- 
intentioned people to tell you what to 
do. You won't end up with an answer, 
but with twenty different opinions. 
And the math inside of a screening 
room is very simple: Twenty opinions 
equals one director's headache. 

Instead of a test screening, what 
you and your editor probably need to 
do is step back, forget it all, and then 
evaluate the film at the plot level with 
clean, fresh eyes. If time off from the 
cutting room doesn't do it, then con- 



sider calling in one person— not an 
army. An outsider knowledgeable in 
narrative structure can often help you 
through the maze. They do not even 
have to be in the film business. Just 
talking to someone new about the 
project can lower your anxiety, and 
hearing yourself explain the film will 
probably help materialize the key to 
final cut kingdom. 

Test screenings are an American 
phenomenon, created by Hollywood's 
strategy of securing the broadest pos- 
sible audience for films by appealing 
to the lowest common denominator. 
In other parts of the world, filmmak- 
ers wait until they are almost ready to 
lock picture before they show their 



you like and want to know if other 
people like too? Test. Is the story solid 
but loaded with information and you 
want to make sure it is all crystal 
clear? Test. Is the ending compelling? 
Test. Test screenings are a tool to help 
you determine if what you are doing is 
working, not a manual to tell you how 
to edit your film. Test what you 
already know. 

Dear Doc Doctor: 

I'm close to final cut and am prepar- 
ing for a test screening. How do you 
suggest I prepare for the screening? 

First of all, are we talking about a 
work-in-progress screening or a test 
screening? A work-in-progress screen- 
ing, for the purposes of this discus- 
sion, is a screening in which your pri- 
mary goal is to generate buzz for your 
film. The testing happens, but it is 
secondary. A test screening's primary 
goal is to assess if certain things in 
your film are working out. 

If you are showing a work in 
progress to start an early buzz, you are 
probably planning to screen at a 



The creative process is very delicate. 

Even the right comment can prove to be 

destructive if it is said at the wrong time. . . . 

Rather than asking when or how many times 

to screen, ask yourself: Why do you want 

to show your film at this point? 



films, and then they only hold a very 
small, private screening. Still, some 
think that compulsive testing is the 
way to go. I know one filmmaker who 
held fifteen test screenings before fin- 
ishing a film. 

I advocate the middle path. Don't 
constantly show the film at every turn, 
but don't shy away from screenings as 
if the film weren't intended to ever be 
seen either. The screening of a rough 
cut is a great opportunity to test your 
key assumptions. Is there a character 



venue, such as a festival or market, 
that holds programs specifically for 
works in progress. In this situation, 
most of what goes on is beyond your 
control. Bring a smile and a ton of 
publicity material. Approach the peo- 
ple that had a positive reaction to your 
documentary— these are your target 
audience, so it is good to learn who 
they are. 

But if you are planning your own 
test screening, there are a few things 
you should consider. When making 



April 2003 | The Independent 25 



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the guest list, the fewer the merrier. 
Ten people are more than enough. 
With a larger group, you will still get 
the opinions of only ten people— the 
loudest ten. The rest will echo their 
comments. Ten well-chosen people 
are much easier to listen to. Save the 
rest for the opening night. 

Whether you invite ten or ten thou- 
sand, hand out a questionnaire to 
help the audience to organize their 

When making 
the guest list, the 
fewer the merrier. 



thoughts. Pay special attention to the 
issues that come up for several people. 
If three find the first ten minutes 
unclear, try to determine why. But if 
one person says she doesn't under- 
stand the ending, let it go. 

When possible, use a moderator, 
especially if a large audience screen- 
ing is unavoidable. She or he will be 
more detached and can make sure 
that nobody monopolizes the dis- 
cussion. Also, a moderator can 
remind the audience that works in 
progress should never be compared 
to finished films. If people do men- 
tion a specific film, avoid comparing 
your film to it when you get back in 
the cutting room. Just keep follow- 
ing the natural development of your 
own story. 

And finally, don't forget to feed the 
crowd. They are taking time to work 
on your film. The more they sense 
that you appreciate their input, the 
more they will want to contribute to 
your success. D 

Want to ask the Doc Doctor a question for a 
future issue of The Independent? Write to her 
at info@documentarydoctor.com. 

Fernanda Rossi is a filmmaker and script/ 

documentary doctor. She also leads the 

bimonthly Documentary Dialogues discussion 

group offered by ATVF. For more info, visit 

www.documentarydoctor.com 



26 The Independent | April 2003 



site seeing 



Sundance Online 
Film Festival 

LITTLE SISTER, DO WHAT YOUR BIG SISTER DONE 
By Maya Churi 




ince 2001 the folks at the 
Sundance Film Festival 
have been slowly nurtur- 
ing the festival's little, 
electric sister, the Sundance Online 
Film Festival. Now three years old, the 
festival is starting to come into its 
own. Programmed by John Cooper, 
Shari Frilot, and Trevor Groth, the fes- 
tival, which runs simultaneously with 
the regular festival, offers online film- 



this year's festival featured a wide vari- 
ety of films that explored mature 
themes and storytelling techniques, 
and differentiated themselves from 
what online films have been in the 
past. "The originality of the work is 
changing by leaps and bounds. Even 
in the simplest of [technological] cre- 
ations, the originality of the story- 
telling shined through," he noted. 
During the ten-day event this past 




makers and storytellers an outlet for 
their projects where they can connect 
with the film community at large and 
acquire that potentially lucrative 
Sundance brand. 

This year's online festival was big- 
ger and better than previous years. 
There were more films, a new category 
for websites entitled New Forms, and a 
new online "look" that mixed art and 
technology. Cooper points out that 



Brooke Burgess's Broken Saints took 
the animation title at Sundance Online. 



January, the online films were exhibit- 
ed each day in the Zenith Theater, 
where the filmmakers had the oppor- 
tunity to answer questions from audi- 
ence members. In addition, viewing 
stations were placed in various loca- 
tions throughout Park City, giving 
moviegoers a chance to stop at a 
moment's notice and watch a film. 
And of course, millions of viewers at 
home could also watch the films any- 
time they wanted. Cooper says, "Last 
check, we had over a million unique 
visitors. And the site stays up longer 



than just the Park City ten days. It 
stays up a month total." 

Programming the festival is not an 
easy task. Since they present a new 
form of storytelling, there is still a lim- 
ited amount of work out there, and 
many online filmmakers don't even 
know about the festival. So, unlike the 
film festival, which receives thousands 
of submissions, the online festival 
went looking for work. "We scoured 
pockets of creativity to find work. A 
lot of outreach. Also, all shorts are 
automatically considered for the 
online festival." Cooper continues, 
"[The selection process is] very old 
fashioned ... we watch . . . then argue 
. . . and I try to listen for 'when passion 
is strong.' Programming is not about 
being critical ... it is the opposite . . . 
It's about staying open to new ideas 
and styles." 

Being open to new styles is just 
what makes this festival so unique. 
With the New Forms section of the fes- 
tival, viewers can explore websites that 
use multiple techniques to tell stories. 
But that isn't always what the audi- 
ence is looking for. As Cooper points 
out, "New Forms always takes the most 
commitment. I find a visitor will skip 
over that for the quick bursts of cre- 
ativity (instant gratification) first. But 
they usually come back to the New 
Forms later. It can be very rewarding." 
This is one of the biggest challenges 
facing online storytellers today. How 
does one get the audience to sit down, 
open up, and start exploring? That 
answer, Cooper says, is "staying ahead 
of the curve creatively, not just tech- 
nologically. Pushing the limits of their 
own storytelling abilities— and I don't 
just mean linear narrative. Seeing if 
they can get an audience to take the 
journey with them." 

For filmmakers Brooke Burgess and 
Stewart Hendler, getting the audience 
to take the journey wasn't a problem. 
They both won online audience 
awards at this year's festival. 

Burgess's Broken Saints, a twenty- 
four-chapter series that fuses still 



April 2003 | The Independent 27 



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images, text, and music, won in the 
animation category. Burgess was 
inspired by a love of graphic novels 
and comic books and also a desire to 
tell a long-rorm narrative using Flash. 
"The urge to do online narratives 
came from the freedom to develop 
mature content for a global audience 
hungry for stories that challenge their 



watch it in— was phenomenal." 
Hendler continues, "We've been get- 
ting e-mails from all over the world 
from people who have taken to or 
been moved by the film. That's really 
gratifying; if we'd screened only in 
Park City, maybe a couple thousand 
people would have seen it." 

But what about at the festival itself? 




beliefs and touch them psychically 
and emotionally," Burgess says. "The 
world's a pretty freaky place right 
now . . . and I think that people are 
craving avenues of expression and 
opportunities to explore ideas that 
may conflict with mainstream 
media's goals. By going online, we 
could avoid the pitfalls of bowing to 
corporate/advertiser/sponsor/net- 
work pressures and compromising 
the message of the series." 

Unlike Burgess's film, Hendler's 
short-subject audience award winner 
One was not made specifically for the 
internet. In fact, online exhibition was 
not something Hendler had initially 
thought of for his 35mm, very visual, 
large-scale production film, but that 
didn't make the experience any less 
worthwhile. "My first gut reaction to 
the news that we got in was pretty 
indignant, like 'just online!' But the 
Sundance experience has forced me to 
step back from that exclusive, theater- 
only mindset, because the exposure 
that the film got online— despite that 
tiny, tiny window people have to 



Nikki Bridges and Drew Fuller in 
Stewart Hendler's One. 



Cooper stresses that it wasn't always 
easy to get the actual festivalgoers to 
sit down and watch the films, but 
once they did they were hooked. "The 
audiences in Park City that I drug to 
one of our many viewing stations were 
blown away. I am used to this. It is the 
same reaction I get to short films 
when you can actually get a person to 
sit down and watch them!" 

Though festival audiences have yet 
to fully grasp the storytelling capabil- 
ities of online filmmaking, the future 
of the Sundance Online Film Festival 
is bright, and it can only get better. 
For Cooper, the goal is to "keep it 
going. ... I find that using the princi- 
ples we used to grow the film festival 
still prevail . . . you watch trends in cre- 
ativity and try to match them with 
growth. I want to continue to be selec- 
tive on the quality of work. I want to 
build audience trust ... so when they 
log in . . . they know they are about to 
get something exciting. As corny as it 
sounds, I want that kid at home with 
a computer and an idea to know there 
is a place for them at Sundance." D 

Maya Churi is a writer/ filmmaker 

working on a web narrative about 

a gated Texas community. 



28 The Independent | April 2003 



distributor faq 



Film Movement 

Jason Guerrasio interviews Larry Meistrich 



What is Film Movement? 

We're a company that matches con- 
sumers with deserving filmmakers. 
We do this in two ways: through the- 
atrical releases and by combining 
them with a subscription-based serv- 
ice so that people everywhere in the 
United States and ultimately Canada 
can get access to the same films as 
people in New York City, Chicago, or 
Los Angeles. For example our first 
film, El Bola, opened theatrically on 
December 10 and we shipped it to 
our members nationwide December 
10 as well. If you're in a city that we 
play theatrically and you're a sub- 
scriber, we'll buy your ticket. You go 
to the website and from the account 
page you can download a ticket. Even 
if you go to the theater you get the 
DVD as well. 

Why was Film Movement created? 

I don't live in a city anymore and I 
have three kids, so for me it's really 
hard to participate in the films that I 
want to participate in. They very 
rarely come to where I live. I wanted 
to create a platform for people who 
are educated, sophisticated, and cul- 
turally connected no matter where 
they live, as well as create a market- 
place for filmmakers who'll actually 
be able to make some money on their 
movies. I think the theatrical release 
platform model is finished, it's too 
expensive. We're leading with our 
subscription business and using our 
theatrical as a marketing initiative, 
which takes a lot of pressure off of the 
film and the filmmaker. We'll play the 
movie for a year and a half— we don't 
really care. 

How did the subscription idea come up? 

Well, I'm a member of the Academy, 

Yamina Benguigui's Inch'Allah Dimanche. 



and two years ago I got a copy of 
Harry Potter when it was still in the- 
aters, which caused quite a stir in my 
daughter's first grade class. I 
thought, wouldn't it be great to give 
everybody that kind of experience, 
but for good films? 

We've also done something differ- 
ent in regards to the financial model 
for filmmakers. Everybody's on a 
"true dollar one straight gross." 
What that means is literally every 
time someone subscribes, filmmak- 
ers get paid. 

How large is the subscription base at 
the moment? 

We're not giving out our numbers, but 
I can tell you we're in over 725 cities 



and then let the film support that 
brand. We're trying to stand for some- 
thing of substance or quality. 

What types of films are you seeking? 

We're seeking award-winning, well- 
written, well-crafted, well-performed, 
well-produced independent cinema. It 
can be documentary. It can be feature. 
It can be foreign language. It just has 
to be good. 

You guys are doing shorts, too? 

Yes, each feature comes with a short. 

How do you choose your films? 

Our criteria for the films is they have 
to have been in one of the top seven 
film festivals (AFI, Berlin, Cannes, 
New York, Sundance, Toronto, 
Venice). So far, everything we've 
bought has won something in those 
film festivals. We have a panel of 
curators; Richard Pena from Lincoln 




and in forty-eight states, so filmmak- 
ers are getting true national exposure. 

Other than the subscription, how 
else does Film Movement distin- 
guish itself from other independent 
distributors? 

Quality. There are no horror films. 
There are no hip-hop films. We're 
actually trying to lead with our brand 



Center, Christian Gaines from AFI, 
Nicole Guillemet, who used to be at 
Sundance [currently director of 
Miami International Film Festival], 
Nate Kohn [director, Roger Ebert's 
Overlooked Film Festival]— really 
good professional curators. They have 
to sign off on the films. They are the 
best of the festival films. What we're 
really doing is bringing Sundance to 



April 2003 | The Independent 29 




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people's houses as well as to people in 
the theater community. 

How many films do you acquire 
per year? 

We're doing one a month. So it's 
twelve per year. We've acquired the 
first nine, and we'll probably round 
out the year here [in January] and 
start our next year at Cannes. 




LMMOVEMENT 



Film Movement 

10-14 Saddle River Road 
Fair Lawn, NJ 0741 
(201)791-8188 

acquisition@filmmovement.com 

(for filmmakers) 
info@filmmovement.com 
(for customers) 
www.filmmovement.com 



Staff: 

Larry Meistrich, founder and CEO 
Curtis Hougland, president 
Brandon Rosser, COO 
William Keys & Richard Lim, 
directors of acquisitions 



The Slate: 

El Bola, dir. Achero Manas, 
December 2002 

He Died With a Felafel in His 
Hands, dir. Richard Lowenstein, 
February 2003 

AH Zaoua, dir. Nabil Aypouch, 
March 2003 

Marion Bridge, dir. Wiebke von 
Carolsfeld, April 2003 

Light of My Eyes, dir. Giuseppe 
Piccioni, May 2003 

Manito, dir. Eric Eason, June 2003 

Inch'Allah Dimanche, dir. Yamina 
Beguigui, July 2003 

Last Party 2000, dir. Donovan 
Leitch & Rebecca Chaiklin, 
August 2003 



30 The Independent | April 2003 



How do you work with a filmmaker in 
the distribution process? 

The filmmaker is truly a partner. 
They're a marketing partner, a finan- 
cial partner; we're really doing every- 




thing together: trailers, posters, cam- 
paigns. I'll play films at film festivals 
after a theatrical run because I don't 
really care what my box office num- 
bers are. For example, El Bola, which 
technically had its opening in 
December, is opening theatrically in 
New Orleans, then it's playing in a fes- 
tival in February in San Diego and a 
bunch of other festivals. The more 
we're getting a film out there, the 
more people know about it 
and about Film Movement. 
It really takes the pressure 
off of that opening weekend 
because very few films have 
the marketing dollars 
behind them to be able to 
open [big]. 

At what stage of postpro- 
duction should filmmak- 
ers approach you? Rough 
or final, which do you like 
to get? 
So far we haven't bought 
anything that wasn't finished, but if 
something was a fine cut and was real- 
ly good we would look at it. 

What were the lessons you learned 
at the Shooting Gallery that you think 

Left: Nabil Ayouch's AH Zaoua. Right: 
Noah Taylor in Richard Lowenstein's 
He Died With a Felafel in His Hand. 



will help make Film Movement 
a success? 

I learned how to market a movie. I'm 
proud of what we did at Shooting 
Gallery, the business was very suc- 
cessful. I learned what con- 
sumers want and how to 
reach them. I think the 
business has changed in 
the last five to six years. 
When you have things 
coming out on eight and 
ten thousand screens, it 
really changes the market, 
because small distributors 
can't get screens and can't 
hold screens. It's become a 
three-day execution. I don't 
believe in that business model any- 
more, unless if you're a studio; then 
it works. 

What advice can you give to filmmak- 
ers who are looking for distribution? 

I think filmmakers need to pay atten- 
tion to marketing more. It's one 
thing to make a movie, it's another 
thing to know who's going to see 
your film. Your job isn't done once 




the film is in the can. Whether it's the 
producer or the director, someone 
involved has to have an idea of where 
the film is going to go when it's done. 
I think very few filmmakers pay 
attention to that. D 

Jason Guerrasio is a staff writer for 
The Independent. 



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April 2003 | The Independent 31 



festival circuit 



The Other Park City 

ALTERNATIVE FESTS COMPLEMENT SUNDANCE 
By Susan Diane Freel 



T 



he great chins about Park 
City, and honestly the great 
thing about Sundance— 
"cause they started this 
whole mess— is that it's the single 
biggest film event in the US," 
exclaims Slamdance cofounder Dan 
Mirvish. "It's unique because literally 
everyone you talk to is involved; 
they're press, they're industry, they're 
another filmmaker— everyone is 
worth talking to." 

The fact that the independent film 
world is one sprawling, diverse com- 
munity was never clearer than in Park 
City, Utah, in January 2003. Although 
there were several film festivals shar- 
ing venues, and some problems with 
Park City regulations regarding signs, 
posters, fliers, and their implications, 
it is clear that the non-Sundance film 
festivals are not to be discounted. It's 



the seventies, as is the case of Easy 
Riders, Raging Bulls. While their gener- 
ally smaller budgets may represent a 
different hype level, it doesn't neces- 
sarily mean the films are lower quality. 
If you didn't know which film festival 
was in which venue you wouldn't be 
able to tell them apart by the quality of 
their films, or even by the names of 
the filmmakers. 

Slamdance: Old School 

Slamdance weighs in as the most 
established Sundance alternative, 
where ticket-holders waiting in line 
for an hour is not unusual. As 
Sundance moved on to bigger films, 
films with distribution, films with 
second-time directors, and films with 
stars, Slamdance became the festival 
where the main competition was pop- 
ulated by first-time directors and low 




hard to see these festivals as marginal- 
ized when one is cosponsored by 
Forest Whitaker, others are showing 
films by well-known directors such as 
Tamra Davis, and many other films 
have stars like Pauly Shore and every- 
body who was anybody in film during 



budgets (under a million). "We keep 
the budgets low so we don't have the 
[big] three-million-dollar film with 
the twelve-hundred-dollar publicist 
pushing around the little filmmaker 
with the thirty-thousand-dollar film 
that he made with Grandma's inheri- 



tance," says Slamdance cofounder 
Paul Rachman. 

It's not easy growing up in Park City 
with a glamorous older sibling to com- 
pete with for everything. In nine years 
Slamdance has bounced between two 
theaters. This year, they were found 
back on Main Street at the Treasure 
Mountain Inn. And while Sundance 
has mushroomed, Slamdance has 
barely increased the number of feature 
films they screen. In 1994, they started 
with twelve features and twelve shorts, 
and this year the count was fourteen 
features and fifty shorts. But keeping 
the number of filmmakers small 
allows people to get to know each 
other. And Slamdance has grown in 
other ways, away from Park City. There 
have now been alumni-driven events 
year-round in Stockholm, Amsterdam, 
Zanzibar, Poland, and New York, most 
with local sponsors. Every few 
months, LA's best Cuban restaurant, 
Versailles, turns into the Slamdance 
alumni association, hosting sixty 
to eighty people, including Oscar- 
winners, for film chat and a garlic- 
soaked roast pork. 

Slamdance is part of a wave of festi- 
vals that emerged in the mid-nineties 
to exhibit new breeds of independent 
film. "Ninety-four was the first year of 
[Slamdance], the New York Under- 
ground, Chicago Underground, Los 
Angeles Independent Film Festival, 
South by Southwest," comments 
Mirvish. "Each one of us was in 
response to something a little bit dif- 
ferent, but all [of us were] breaking 
this hegemony that Sundance had on 
what's independent. At the time, if 
you didn't get into Sundance, not 
only didn't you get distribution [you 
didn't get considered for] a lot of the 
big regional festivals. . . . Part of what 
we did with those other five or six fes- 
tivals is say to filmmakers, 'Hey, if you 
don't get into Sundance it's not the 
end of the world.'" 



Left: Tim Kang in Machine Love, part of 
Greg Pak's collection, Robot Stories. 



32 The Independent | April 2003 



Slamdance, the rebel child, now has 
a brand of its own that offers weight 
and credibility to films. Today the 
Slamdance catalog itself has become 
fodder for other festivals. And while 
it's rare for Slamdance films to make 
the list of projects acquired during the 
ten days when Park City is the epicen- 
ter of the film world, films first seen at 
Slamdance are often picked up a 



month, a year, or even several years 
later. "There is a perception that 
Sundance has become basically a festi- 
val for the mini-majors," comments 
Ken Bowser, director of Slamdance's 
opening night film, Easy Riders, Raging 
Bulls, based on Peter Biskind's best- 
seller. "Slamdance is now the place 
where, if you've got a picture without 
stars, you're going to get seen." 



What is an independent film according to Slamdance? 

"We like to think of it as dependent filmmaking. The whole point is that if 
you're on a low budget, you're completely dependent on friends. You're 
dependent on wives; on grandmothers dying at the right time to get their 
inheritance; favors; everything . . . You're dependent on so many different peo- 
ple that no one person can tell you what to do. In the studio system, if you're 
working for one studio, someone's telling you what to do." 

—Dan Mirvish, Slamdance cofounder 

What is an independent film according to Slamdunk? 

"Independent filmmakers are willing to try. They're not willing to take no 
for an answer. Persistence is important. It's a fine line between selling out 
and cashing in." —Justin Henry, Slamdunk cofounder 

"I have become increasingly annoyed with the label 'independent film,' 
because we've got the press calling things like Adaptation an independent 
film. I love that movie, don't get me wrong, but it's not a fucking independ- 
ent film. Spike Jonze, Nicholas Cage, Meryl Streep do not an independent 
film make. To me . . . it's some wackos in the middle of nowhere deciding . . . 
to put themselves in debt, to take this risk that has absolutely no guarantees 
of paying off, because they are so dedicated." 

—Ben Coccio, director/writer of Slamdunk' s Zero Day 

What is an independent film according to Nodance? 

"I think independent is not having to answer to someone with a check. 
When money is making creative decisions, I think that makes it less inde- 
pendent." 

—Bessie Morris, producer of Nodance film Our House 

What is an independent film according to X-Dance? 

"I think it's all DIY— Do It Yourself . . . The trick with an independent film is 
when it's done it's not always guaranteed who's going to see it, and that's when 
your heart can be broken." 

—Tamra Davis, director of X-Dance film Keep Your Eyes Open 

What is an independent film according to Tromadance? 

"We believe in people that are trying their hardest to have fun, to tell a good 
story, and to experiment." 

—Jonathan Lees, Tromadance director of events 




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Slamdunk: A Diamond 
in the Rough 

The brainchild of a couple of filmmak- 
ers who didn't make the Sundance 
deadline in 1998, Slamdunk made a 
name for itself the first year it appeared 
by screening Nick Broomfield's Kurt 
and Courtney, which Sundance yanked 
after Courtney Love threatened to sue 
for copyright invasion of her late-hus- 
band, Kurt Cobain's, songs. Since 
Slamdunk, which had only rented its 
venue at the Elk's Lodge two weeks 
before, basically didn't exist, there was 
nobody for Love's lawyers to threaten. 
"We had six hundred people 
trying to get into a screening 
room that held two hundred 
people, for a film festival that 
did not exist two weeks before- 
hand," remembers Justin 
Henry, the festival's cofounder. 
As it turned out, Slamdunk's 
screening was one of the few 
times anybody would see 
Broomfield's original version 
of the film. After a series of 
increasingly threatening letters 
from various lawyers, the Nirvana 
songs were cut from the film when it 
was distributed theatrically by Roxie 
Releases (see page 19). 

Slamdunk had discovered that 
there was a need for films not qualify- 
ing for Sundance: the films that were 
not Sundance's taste, films that were 
not finished in time, that were not 
North American premieres, or were 
just too much of a legal mess for a 
major nonprofit to handle. Like 
Slamdance, the festival has remained 
small in the number of films screened. 
Usually they take ten to twelve films 
through open submission, but this 
year, due to economics, only seven 
films screened, including the premiere 
of Paul (Pauly) Shore's film, You'll 
Never Weiz in this Town Again. 

Also like Slamdance, Slamdunk has 
ventured beyond Park City, putting 
on an event at Cannes that introduces 
American independent films to a 
worldwide audience. "I hope that 



we're getting a reputation as sort of a 
diamond in the rough," notes Henry. 
"We have a much bigger event in 
Cannes than we have here because 
honestly we don't want to think we're 
competing with Sundance." 

Nodance: Star Sponsorship 

This year, Forest Whitaker brought 
some star power to Nodance as a pre- 
senting sponsor. This six-year-old is 
dedicated to "alternative digital film 
culture" and focuses on first-timers. 
To this end, the screenings are free to 
the public, there are industry panels, 




networking events, and an award for 
the "most innovative guerrilla market- 
ing campaign on the mountain," the 
Golden Orb. This year's Orb winner 
Our House, a documentary about 
assisted living, mounted one of the 
most aggressive postcard campaigns 
Park City has ever seen. 

Nodance is carving out a niche in 
Park City for filmmakers who are even 
more of outsiders than the rest of the 
alternative festivals, which is perhaps 
why Nodance takes a cue from 
Sundance and focuses on panels 
directed at providing filmmakers 
information about the industry. Most 
of these filmmakers didn't make it 
into Sundance or Slamdance, but 
they're delighted to be screening in 
Park City. "I had heard good things 
about [Nodance] through other film- 
makers. I knew of Slamdance, of 



Vilka Tzouras's Shadowboxer claimed the 
Best Short title at this year's Nodance. 



34 The Independent | April 2003 



course, and Sundance, which I applied 
to," explains Vilka Tzouras, whose 
film Shadowboxer won Best Short at 
Nodance. "All festivals have kind of 
their genre, so you start to learn which 
festivals might want your film." 

X-Dance: Easy Rider 2003 

Founded by former China Beach star 
Brian Wimmer in 2001, X-Dance is 
leveraging the Park City spotlight to 
push action sports films into a genre 
that is taken seriously. Sharing a 
venue with Slamdunk for part of the 
time, the festival closed this year with 
Tamra Davis's (Crossroads, CB4) x- 
treme sports feature, Keep Your Eyes 
Open. This festival attracts a crowd 
with demographics that make market- 
ing execs' mouths water— young, hip, 
and action-sports oriented. "We're try- 
ing to elevate the independent film 
scene of action sports and bring the 
whole bar up," comments Dave 
Simmer, producer of Keep Your Eyes 
Open. "All these filmmakers have been 
making films for twenty years on 
these sports. Hopefully it will allow 
them to get distribution . . . rather 
than just having to sell on the internet 
or in skate and surf shops." 

Tromadance: For the People 
and By the People 

Claiming to be sick of corporate-run 
film festivals, Tromadance Film 
Festival was founded by Lloyd 
Kaufman, president of Troma, the 
company that brought you Toxic 
Avenger 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. There's no sub- 
mission fee and they screen any genre. 
This year, their fourth, was fifty-five 
shorts and one feature. 

But Troma doesn't totally turn its 
back on corporations, not when it will 
benefit their filmmakers. Kodak is a 
sponsor. Tromadance gives their $1,000 
film stock prize (courtesy of Kodak) not 
to the "best" filmmaker but to the per- 
son who does the best job of taking care 
of business— the best festival personali- 
ty, the filmmaker and volunteer that 



does the best job of working his or her 
ass off. "I tried to pick the strongest 
efforts, and that's why . . . the majority 
of our selections are shorts," explains 
Tromadance's director of events 
Jonathan Lees. The single feature All the 
Love You Can is a Troma film about 
guerrilla marketing at the Cannes Film 
Festival. "People may know (Troma) for 
parties," says Lees. "I'm bringing the 
focus back to films." 

Tromadance is another festival with 
a non-Utah footprint. DVD's of their 
films, and footage of their panels 
featuring Michael Rugerrio of 
Independent Film Channel and Jean 
Pruitt of American Film Market, are 
distributed throughout the year. 
They also screen selections from 
Tromadance in Cannes, LA, Florida, 
and New York. 

Honorable Mention 

Finally, there are even smaller new fes- 
tivals sprouting up. SheDance started 
this year, featuring work by women 
filmmakers. The Phat Tire Saloon, 
home to Tromadance, also hosted the 
first annual Backseat Film Fest 2003, 
a mixture of films, music, and a few 
surprises "to tenderize your senses." 
There's the SchmoozeDance Film 
Festival, held on January 17 at 
Congregation Temple Har Shalom of 
Park City, following Oneg Shabbat 
and "a Kiddush and reception for con- 
gregants, filmmakers, tourists, dis- 
tributors, and everybody else visiting 
or residing in Park City and Utah." 
And there was also something called 
Road Dance, which nobody seemed to 
know anything about other than its 
name. But as Lees says, "Don't ever 
think you're too small, because you're 
not. You need to be seen." O 

Full disclosure: The editor of this magazine 
was the assistant costume designer for Toxic 
Avenger part III, The Last Temptation of Toxie. 

Susan Freel is a filmmaker and a 

special-project coordinator for AIVF. She is 

in postproduction on her documentary 

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April 2003 | The Independent 35 



festival circuit 



FCC Changes Afoot? 

FORUM ADDRESSES TV DEREGULATION ISSUES 
By Charlie Sweitzer 



What do a former presi- 
dent of the Screen 
Actors Guild, the host 
of a loner-running 
Harlem public access show, vice presi- 
dents at Fox and CBS, and Federal 
Communications Commission chair- 
man Michael Powell have in common? 
They're all concerned about the future 
of media ownership laws, and were 
among the several dozen panelists who 
assembled at Columbia University for 
an FCC forum presented by 
Columbia's law school and organiza- 
tions including the Writers Guild of 
America, Media Access Project, and ATVF. 




The forum also attracted three of 
the four other FCC commissioners, 
about two hundred attendees, and 
was seen and heard by many more via 
webcast (archived on Columbia's web- 
site—see the URL below) and broad- 
cast on Pacifica Radio. 

Up for discussion were the FCC's 
current rules, which prohibit, among 
other things, one company from own- 
ing stations which reach more than 
thirty-five percent of the American tel- 



evision audience, as well as mergers 
among a community's television sta- 
tions, radio stations, and local news- 
papers. This spring, as part of their 
biennial review, the FCC is expected to 
vote on whether these rules should be 
revised, repealed, or left in place. 

Other forums for public discussion 
of FCC regulations are scheduled for 
this spring . These forums are largely the 
work of Commissioner Michael J. 
Copps (who was also present on January 
16). In a recent FCC press release, he 
expressed his belief that these forums 
fell within the commission's "responsi- 
bility to reach out." 

^^^^^^^^™ Support from 

Powell for these 
^^T^I^B forums has been 
j^y . mixed: "I would be 

the first to agree 
that this kind of 
public discourse is 
one of the most 
critical things that 
the commission 
can participate in," 
he said at the 
forum on January 
16, though he later 
admitted he finds 
the FCC's biennial 
review process 
"regrettable," 
adding: "I think it's destabilizing to 
necessarily look at rules at such inter- 
vals." Powell also issued a press release 
on February 5 which questioned these 
forums' effectiveness, comparing 
them to "a nineteenth century whistle 
stop tour." 

"Whistle stop" or not, the Colum- 
bia University forum sparked some 
emotional debate both for and against 
deregulating television. The effect of 
the 1996 Telecommuni-cations Act 



was frequently cited as an example of 
how deregulation can fail the public 
interest. The act contained a provision 
which freed radio stations from own- 
ership limits similar to those being 
discussed for broadcast. 

The result? Today, two corpora- 
tions—Clear Channel and Infinity- 
own nearly every radio station in the 
country. To many, this was a frighten- 
ing model of what could happen if 
television is deregulated. "The deregu- 
lation of the radio industry has been an 
unmitigated disaster," said Michelle 
Jennings, executive vice president of 
Sherwood Outdoor. Jennings, who has 
worked for twenty-five years in radio 
management and sales, said, "After 
deregulation, the competitive land- 
scape altered drastically. Our business 
contracted, and our ability to grow was 
drastically diminished. . . . Many media 
executives and programmers share my 
view, but are afraid to speak out pub- 
licly because their livelihood depends 
on them holding an opposite view." 
She admitted, "Friends and colleagues 
in the industry have warned me that I 
may be blackmailed if I speak out 
against deregulation at this event." 

Some sought to connect media con- 
solidation and deregulation to vulgarity 
on television. Commissioner Kevin J. 
Martin asked: "Are network executives 
more willing to put on questionable pro- 
gramming when they know they won't 
see you and your family at the local gro- 
cery store tonight, at the big game 
Saturday, or at church on Sunday?" 

Another vein of opposition towards 
deregulation came from Charles Lewis, 
founder and executive director of the 
Center for Public Integrity. "I don't 
know how to put this delicately, so I'll 
just spit it out," he said. "There is a gen- 
eral perception that the Federal 
Communications Commission and 
Congress have been a little too close 
and a little too accommodating to the 



FCC commissioners (from left) 
Jonathan Adelstein, Michael Powell, 
Kevin Martin, and Michael Copps. 



36 The Independent | April 2003 



broadcast industry." 

Lewis shared some frightening 
figures: Media corporations gave $75 
million to Congress over the past five 
years, and spent $111 million lobby- 
ing. Furthermore, the same members 
of Congress who voted for the 1996 
Telecommunications Act were treated, 
courtesy of media corporations, to 
315 trips around the world. Even 
worse, the Center found that between 
1995 and 2000, FCC personnel accept- 
ed 1,460 "all-expense-paid" trips, 
courtesy of media corporations and 
associations. "How can the FCC judge 
or discuss media ownership if they're 
taking trips on these guys?" said 
Lewis. "Call me crazy, but I have a 
problem with that." 

Tom Carpenter, national broadcast 
director of AFTRA, expressed concern 
over the future of local news coverage 
in a deregulated world. Carpenter 
cited the rise of voice tracking 
employed by Clear Channel, or "live" 
radio that is actually prerecorded for a 
specific market, as one of the negative 
and inevitable consequences of dereg- 
ulation. "The announcers who do 
these voice track shifts have cheat 
sheets, with local community names 
and places," he said. "They are 
required to pretend, in fact, that they 
are living and working in the commu- 
nities where they are broadcasting, 
but they're not." 

Carpenter believes that if deregulat- 
ed, television would follow suit. "I hate 
to say it, but it's already starting to 
happen," he said, noting how Sinclair 
(a large owner of television stations) 
now tapes its weather forecasts for 
Dayton, Ohio, in its Baltimore, 
Maryland, corporate offices. 

Though outnumbered at the forum, 
proponents of deregulation argued for 
the advantages of looser ownership 
laws. "In a way, it should be flattering 
to my male ego that so many people 
have been up here today talking about 
how powerful we are, and how good 
we are at executing conspiracies," said 
Martin D. Franks, executive vice presi- 



dent of CBS television. "Folks, we're 
not that good . . . there isn't this big 
media conspiracy out there to subvert 
the underlying values of America." 

Franks also said that a different cli- 
mate required different laws. 
"Somehow the notion that the media 
landscape bears any resemblance 
today to what it looked like five years 
ago, or six years ago, much less sixty 
years ago, when many of these regula- 
tions were first written, is mind-bog- 
gling to me," he said. 

"Free television is much more 
endangered than I've heard articulat- 
ed in this room," he added. "Two of 
the networks-NBC and CBS-will 
make money this year. The other two 
are going to lose a ton. One of the rea- 
sons is all the programming invest- 
ment is made at the network level. 
Much of the recoupment of that is 
made at the station level. If we aren't 
able to own more stations, and there- 
fore recoup more programming 
investment, our programming invest- 
ment will decline. When our program- 
ming investment declines— as it has at 
NBC in the sports arena— more and 
more sports goes to pay [per view]. . . . 
That's not anti-American, but it's not 
ultimately in the public's interest." 

Ultimately, though, it's difficult to 
predict precisely what might happen 
should television become deregulated. 
Perhaps Lewis put it best: "[Have] the 
FCC commissioners given adequate 
explanation to the public about why 
giving billions more dollars [in the 
form of income from public airwaves] 
to the existing broadcast companies is 
in the national interest? ... Is the FCC 
sufficiently objective and independent 
to render such judgements, given its 
past history? It is not for me to answer 
these questions, but to let time and 
history itself be the ultimate judge." D 

To see this forum go to www.law.columbia.edu/ 
news/ PressReleases/media_forum. htm 

For more info visit aivf.org/advocacy/index.html 

Visit the FCC's website: www.fcc.gov. 

Charlie Sweitzer is a New York-based writer 
and intern at The Independent. 



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on view 



Work to Watch For 



By Jason Guerrasio 



Theatrical 

Raising Victor Vargas 

Dir. Peter Sollett 

(Samuel Goldwyn, March 28) 

After che success of their NYU thesis 
film Fire Feet High and Rising, which 
received awards at the Cannes and 
Sundance Film Festivals, director 
Peter Sollett and his partner 
writer/producer Eva Vives decided to 
bring the cast (now older and in some 




cases taller) back for the feature- 
length sequel, Raising Victor Vargas. 

Shot entirely in the Lower East Side 
of New York City, this coming-of-age 
story follows sixteen-year-old Victor 
Vargas (Victor Rasuk), now well over 
five-feet tall and a self-proclaimed 
babe magnet, who chases after the 
neighborhood beauty "Juicy" Judy 
Ramirez (Judy Marte). Hassled by his 
eccentric Grandmother (Altagracia 
Guzman), who thinks his fraternizing 
with girls is a bad influence on his 
younger brother, Nino (Silvestre 
Rasuk), Victor learns that there's more 
to life than being a ladies' man. 

"I decided to write something auto- 
biographical about my neighborhood 



and tried to cast it with the kind of 
kids that I grew up with," says Sollett 
about writing Five Feet High and Rising. 
But after being unsuccessful in the 
traditional ways of casting (talent 
agents, putting an ad in Backstage), 
Sollett and Vives decided to post fly- 
ers around their neighborhood, 
which is ultimately how they found 
the cast for Five Feet High, later the 
cast for Victor Vargas. 

Sollett admits 
the young, hip dia- 
logue that's found 
throughout the 
ff% t 4 V*n film is entirely 
made up by the 
actors. He found 
that the best way to 
get what he wanted 
from his actors was 
by not letting them 
see a script. "We 
noticed right away 
that all of these 
kids were much 
more interesting 
after cut and 
before action," says 
Sollett. "So we stopped giving people 
the script and we spent a month basi- 
cally preparing the scenes based on 
their improvisations and using the 
script as a roadmap," a technique 
Sollett says the actors loved. "They 
were all for it because it made it their 



XX/XY 

Dir. Austin Chick 

(IFC, April 11) 

Another coming-of-age story, this 
one centers around Coles (Mark 
Ruffalo), a free-spirited artist whose 
rebel attitude and lack of ambition is 
a turn on for Sam (Maya Strange) 
and her friend Thea (Kathleen 



Robertson), who both fall for him. A 
late-night incident breaks up the trio, 
but they run into one another ten 
years later. Though they're now more 
sophisticated than when they saw 
each other last (and each now have 
significant others), their reunion 
leads to costly mistakes. 

Fellini: I'm a Born Liar 
Dir. Damian Pettigrew 
(First Look, April 2) 

Highlighting the career of Federico 
Fellini, this documentary takes a can- 
did look at the legendary Italian film- 
maker. Including a series of interviews 
conducted before his death, Fellini is 
filled with revealing interviews from 
actors who've worked with the maestro 
(Terence Stamp, Roberto Benigni, and 
Donald Sutherland), as well as never 
before-seen private archive footage. 

The Man Without a Past 

Dir. Aki Kaurismaki 

(Sony Pictures Classics, April 4) 

The always uncharacteristic, Aki 
Kaurismaki follows his 1999 silent 
black-and-white movie, Juha, with this 
full-color, dialogue-heavy film. 
Traveling to Helsinki to find work, a 
blue-collar man (Markku Peltola) 
rests on a park bench when, out of 
nowhere, he's attacked by a group of 
thugs who beat him unconscious. 
When he comes to, he realizes he has 
amnesia and must begin a new life. As 
the film continues, the man gets 
through his disability through the 
kindness of strangers who are willing 
to take him in. 

Television 

Chiefs 

Dir. Daniel Junge 

(PBS, April 1) 

Growing up in Wyoming, director 
Daniel Junge has always known about 
the Chiefs, the Wyoming Indian High 
School basketball team. Their domi- 
nance is heralded throughout the 
state. The idea to do a documentary 
about the team "came while I was sit- 



38 The Independent | April 2003 



ting on the bench," says Junge, who 
admits to spending much of his high 
school basketball career getting splin- 
ters on the pine. "I had many hours 
contemplating this film." 

Chiefs takes a look at life on the 
reservation for the high school basket- 
ball team through two seasons. 
Treated like gods off the court, the 



"I don't think anyone on the reserva- 
tion is going to need to see it when 
it's on PBS," says Junge. 

Bird by Bird with Annie 
Dir. Freida Lee Mock 
(PBS, April 22) 

This documentary on novelist and 
essayist Annie Lamott is both funny 




Chiefs team members must deal with 
stereotypes and the pressure of mak- 
ing it to the state finals while on it. 
"That's very much how it is on the res 
with basketball," says producer 
Donna Dewey. "The boys are heroes 
before they are men." 

Living on the reservation while 
filming, Junge became very close to 
everyone who lives there. So close 
that he eventually is invited to sit in 
on the sacred smudge ceremonies 
that the coaches and players perform 
before each season to cleanse and 
protect them. "I've been embraced by 
these people and it makes it all the 
more important that they like the 
film." With all the bootlegs of the 
film on the reservation, it's more 
than evident that they like the film. 

Left: Victor (Victor Rasuk) and Judy 
Ramirez (Judy Marte) in Raising Victor 
Vargas. Above: The 2001 Wyoming 
State Champion Chiefs. 



and inspiring as we follow her 
through a year of book readings, 
teaching, and writing while being a 
single mother. Director Freida Lee 
Mock explores how Lamott has 
rebounded from a life scarred by sub- 
stance abuse and depression through 
the help of the written word. 

AMANDLA! A Revolution 
in Four-Part Harmony 
Dir. Lee Hirsch 
(Cinemax, April 22) 

A testimony to the power of song, 
AMANDALA! looks at how important 
music was in the last half-century 
struggle against black oppression in 
South Africa. The documentary 
received the Audience Award and 
Freedom of Expression Award at the 
2002 Sundance Film Festival. O 



Jason Guerrasio is a staff writer for 
The Independent. 




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April 2003 | The Independent 39 



It's an Honor 
Just to Be 

Nominating 

NEW RULES FOR THE ACADEMY'S 
FLEDGLING DOCUMENTARY BRANCH 



w 



hether you believe the Oscars are a pop 
ularity contest or a golden acknowl- 
edgement from one's peers, there is 
no denying that tagging the title 
"Oscar-winner" onto any film, including a docu- 
mentary, increases its name recognition and com- 
mercial value. Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine 
ticket sales increased by 30 percent the week after the 
film was nominated, and the film received its distri- 
bution from United Artists. "Whether you agree that 
the Oscars are the pinnacle of achievement or not, to 
be recognized by the Academy can make the difference 
in whether or not that message gets out," explains 
Arthur Dong, a member of the board of governors for 
the documentary branch and director of Family 
Fundamentals. "The public loves to dis the Oscars, but 
everybody watches it." 

For the last few years the Academy of Motion 
Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization 
that gives out those hot little statuettes, has 
been increasing the position of documentaries 
within the Academy by awarding documen- 
taries a hard-won branch of their own last 
year, and a total of three seats on the 
board of governors, the same number as 
the other branches. 

For a number of years documentaries 






By Maud Kersnowski 



have had a somewhat uncomfortable home at the 

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In the 

nineties the board of governors twice voted to 

eliminate the short subject documentary award. 

Each time, they reversed their decision after 

intensive lobbying from groups such as ATvT 

and IDA and exhaustive information presented 

by the documentary makers within the Academy 

to the board proving that short subject films and 

documentaries in general were viable theatrical 

films deserving of the Academy's recognition. 

The short subject award was particularly vulner- 
able because of questions surrounding the legitima- 
cy of a number of recent entries. Since digital tech- 
nology has made creating multiple versions of a film 
easier, the category has received submissions that 
were cut down versions of longer pieces already 
screened at festivals and on television. The 
intention was to grab an Oscar in what was 
viewed as a less competitive category. "The 
award recognizes the integrity of the short 
film," explains Freida Lee Mock, head of the 
documentary branch and winner of the 
1994 for Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision. "A 
number of films were submitted that were 
chopped down from feature length films, 
Reader's Digest versions." 



40 The Independent | April 2003 



Another reason that members of the board may have 
viewed documentaries as projects intended for television, 
rather than ones that were re-released for broadcast after 
their theater days, was because television was the only 
place they saw documentaries. "The people on the board of 
governors in the nineties certainly weren't going to an art- 
house," Mock comments. 

At the same time that the Academy had begun viewing 
nonfiction film with suspicion, many makers were feeling 



says. "But a number of us were nominated and won under 
the old system." 

The difficulty of entering the Academy, for many non- 
fiction filmmakers, further increased the image that docu- 
mentarians were not represented in the Academy. Before 
acquiring their own branch, documentarians joined direc- 
tors', producers', or members-at-large's branches, none of 
which had any deep commitment to recruiting documen- 
tary filmmakers into the largely fiction-focused, invitation- 




alienated from the awards process. When critical and box 
office successes like Steve James' Hoop Dreams and Michael 
Moore's Roger & Me failed even to be nominated, many in 
the field began to question the nomination process for an 
award which did not have a branch of its own. Originally, 
in order to be able to take part in the nominating process, 
members were required to view all the submitted films at 
Academy screenings in Los Angeles, a three-day-a-week 
commitment for several months, something out of reach 
for many working documentarians, which made the award 
seem less of a peer award than the other Oscars. "Over the 
last eight years, a lot of the bigger films didn't get nomi- 
nated. It seemed clear something wasn't working," Mock 



Above: African white pelicans from Jacques Perrin's Winged 
Migration. 



only membership. As a result, until the introduction of the 
new branch, many of the major names in the field had not 
only not received an Oscar, they were not even members of 
the Academy, including Albert Maysels, DA. Pennebaker, 
Michael Moore, and Wim Wenders. 

The governors and other members of the new branch are 
now in the unique position of protecting the Oscars for 
documentaries. To this purpose they have created a new set 
of rules to answer the concerns of the Academy, an organi- 
zation that gives out awards for theatrical films, not televi- 
sion. In all likelihood, the rules will continue to evolve, and 
people will continue to work their way around what the 
rules are intended to prevent. 

Last year the board of governors' worst suspicions about 
documentaries were confirmed when the best-feature win- 
ner, Murder on a Sunday Morning, byJean-Xavier de Testrade 



April 2003 | The Independent 41 



DEFINITION 

A theatrically released nonfiction 
mop on picture dealing creatively with 
cultural, artistic, historical, social, 
scientific, economic, or other subjects. 
It may not be a promotional film, a 
purely instructional film, or an 
unfiltered record of a performance. 

CATEGORIES 

Feature: more than forty minutes 
running time 

Short Subject: less than forty 
minutes, including; titles 

ELIGIBILITY 

Feature: 

• Must run for seven consecutive 
davs in a Los Angeles or Manhattan 
commercial theater before a 
paying audience. 

• Must meet one of the following 
requirements: screen in four cities in 
a commercial theater running for 
two consecutive days in each venue; 
or be withheld from television 
and/or internet transmission for 
the nine months following the day 
the nominations are announced. 

Short Subject: 

• Follow the same seven-day Manhattan 
or LA roll-out as features; OR 

• Win "best short documentary" at a 
festival the Academy considers a 
"competitive festival." 

Shorts must also either: 

• Release in four cities as above; or 

• Be withheld from television and/or 
internet for nine months as above. 

OTHER REQUIREMENTS 
AND RESTRICTIONS 

• Showings must be advertised on the 
film page of a major newspaper. 

• No television or internet release 
prior to or within six months of the 
qualifying run or festival win. 

• Short subject films may not be 
edits of feature length films that 
have screened on TV, in theaters, 
or at festivals. 

• Films must be submitted to 
the Academy. 

For complete rules see: www.oscars.org/ 
75academyawards/rules/rule1 2 




and Dennis Poncet, aired on HBO a week after taking home the statue. "It 
won on a Sunday, and the following Sunday it was on HBO. It really woke 
up the board of governors and confirmed all their suppositions that docu- 
mentaries were television productions," Mock recalls. "The television thing 
has haunted us." 

In answer to the concern that an Academy award was being used to mar- 
ket a television show, new rules designed to restrict eligibility to films 
intended for theatrical distribution were drafted for the 2003 nomination 
process. While documentaries were once required to screen for only seven 
consecutive days in Manhattan or Los Angeles, nonfiction films must now 
also play in an additional four cities for at least two consecutive days. If this 
condition is not met, the film can still be nominated, but it cannot be 
broadcast for nine months after the nominations are announced. Whether 
these restrictions achieve their goal remains to be seen, but they will cer- 
tainly increase the theatrical distribution of documentaries outside of New 
York and Los Angeles. 

The shorts category, on the other hand, has seen a loosening of the 
qualification requirements. These films may earn eligibility either 
through the same type of theatrical roll-out as features, or they may use 
the "Best Short Award" at a newly expanded list of festivals as part of their 
qualifying exhibition. 

One thing that will not change is that the so-called short list will not be 
released. Earlier this year there was a great deal of murmuring and high 
hopes that the list of films in serious consideration for nominations might 
be released. "The Academy has nominations and Oscar winners. The short 
list is part of an internal private review. It's not public," comments Dong. 

Maud Kersnowski is editor in chief ofThe Independent. 



This page: Actor, director, and cabaret performer Kurt Gerron in Malcolm 
Clarke and Stuart Sender's Prisoner of Paradise. Opposite page, left: Mother- 
daughter reunion in Gail Dolgin and Vincente Franco's Daughter from 
Danang, Right: The Jacob brothers with their grandmother, Erslena, in Roger 
Weisberg and Murray Nossel's Why Can't We Be a Family Again? 



42 The Independent | April 2003 




And the documentary nominees are: 



Feature: 



Bowling for Columbine 
Director: Michael Moore 
Producer: Michael Donovan 
Michael Moore's examination of gun 
culture and gun violence in the US. 

Distribution 

Theatrical: Now showing 
Television: No plans for broadcast 

Daughter from Danang 
Directors: Gail Dolgin and 
Vincente Franco 

The daughter of a US soldier fighting 
in Vietnam and a Vietnamese national 
searches for the mother who sent her 
to America. 

Distribution 

Theatrical: Now showing 
Television: PBS's American 
Experience, April 7 

Prison of Paradise 

Directors: Malcolm Clarke and Stuart 

Sender 

While held in a concentration camp, a 

leading Jewish actor, director, and cabaret 

performer was forced to direct and write 

Nazi propaganda films. 

Distribution 

Theatrical: No longer in theaters 
Television: PBS, scheduled to air in 
late April. 



Spellbound 

Director: Jeffrey Blitz 

Producer: Sean Welch 

A behind-the-scenes look at the 

National Spelling Bee with children 

from around the country. 

Distribution 

Theatrical: Now showing 
Television: HBO; not yet scheduled 

Winged Migration 
Director: Jacques Perrin 
The story of the lives of migrating 
birds from the birds' perspective. 

Distribution 

Theatrical: Now showing 
Television: Through Columbia/TriStar 

Short subject: 

The Collector of Bedford Street 
Director: Alice Elliott 
A profile of Larry Selman, a sixty-year- 
old disabled man who spends much 
of his time raising money for charities. 

Distribution 

Theatrical/Festival: In theaters and on 

festival circuit 

Television: Cinemax, late May 

Mighty Times: The Legacy of 
Rosa Parks 
Director: Robert Houston 
Producer: Robert Hudson 



The story of one of the Civil Rights 
Movement's most important figures. 

Distribution 

Theatrical/Festival: On festival circuit 
Television: HBO, February 2004, as 
part of Black History Month 
Other: Educational distribution 
through Teaching Tolerance 
(www.tolerance.org) 

Twin Towers 

Directors: Bill Guttentag and Robert 

David Port 

Profiles of one of the first Emergency 

Service Units to respond on 

September 1 1 . 

Distribution 

Theatrical/Festival: Still on festival 

circuit 

Television: None as of press time 

Why Can't We Be a Family 

Again? 

Directors: Roger Weisberg and 

Murray Nossel 

A grandmother raises her drug-addicted 

daughter's children. 

Distribution 

Theatrical/Festival: On festival circuit 

Television: None 

Other: Educational rights sold to 

Filmaker's Library and Pyramid Media 

Distribution. 

Note: All information current as of 
press time (March 3). 



April 2003 | The Independent 43 




Unlocking 

the Secrets 

of the Screening 

Committee 



By Aaron Krach 



For almost every independent film its first exhibi- 
tion space will be a festival screening room. It 
doesn't matter if your film's budget was in the 
hundreds and the crew ate bologna sandwiches, 
or if you spent a million-plus and had a cappuccino 
machine at the craft services table— once the videotaped 
copy is dropped into the mail (with festival entry form, fee, 
and photos) all films become equal. They are just video- 
tapes in padded envelopes waiting to be unwrapped and 
watched by a stranger, waiting to be discovered, to be loved, 
and hopefully, w be chosen to screen at the festival. 

Okay, so it's not quite that easy. Not all films are created 
equal; some have an edge. Maybe your 
film has Parker Posey in it. Maybe 
someone else's film was produced by a 
guy sleeping with the festival pro- 
grammer. But in many ways, film fes- 
tival entries become equalized, if not 
equal. Each film entered is exactly 
that: an entry. It is just another film 
to be watched, approved, and liked, or 
not. Hundreds, even thousands, of 
films will arrive at any given festival 
office each year, all vying for the exact 
same thing, a spot in the lineup, but 
only a few will be chosen. They don't 
call them competitions for nothing. 

There are undoubtedly more film 
festivals in more countries than ever 
before. Of course, that is little com- 
pensation to filmmakers who are get- 
ting more rejection letters than ever 
before. Isn't there something (any- 




thing?) filmmakers can do with their docs, dramas, and 
shorts to make sure they not only get noticed by the screen- 
ing committee, but get programmed into a festival or two? 
Understanding the screening process will go a long way to 
unlocking the mystery of which films are chosen to screen 
at a festival. And once you get a few festivals under your 
belt, the ball has a tendency to keep on rolling, because so 
many festivals solicit submissions straight out of the cata- 
logs of other festivals. 

Few situations in life are as humbling as dropping your 
film into the mailbox. You might open and close the lid on 
it a few times to make sure it's hasn't gotten stuck, but it's 
gone. You couldn't get it back if you 
wanted to. And whether the festival is 
in Austin or East Hampton, your 
film's journey— from delivery to deci- 
sion—will be remarkably similar. 

"Every single tape we receive [at 
South By Southwest] goes into an 
office where one person logs them all 
in," says Mocha Jean Herrep, an asso- 
ciate professor of radio, television, 
and film at Austin Community 
College in Austin, Texas, and a veter- 
an volunteer screener. 

At South by Southwest (SXSW) 
and most other festivals, logging the 
tapes involves separating any accom- 
panying paperwork from the video- 
tape. Each tape is coded and put into 
a pile with other submissions in the 
same category. Larger groups are then 
divided into smaller batches of tapes, 



44 The Independent | April 2003 



which are sent to screening committee members who will 
view them at home. Screeners usually receive only the 
tapes, without supplementary paperwork, cast lists, etc. 
Thus the film has to stand on its own 
and capture the home-viewer's atten- 
tion. The screener gives the films 
numerical ratings, so films with high- 
er marks can be easily culled for sec- 
ond viewings. 

"Over the whole process, I'll watch 
approximately forty features total on 
my own," continues Herrep. "This year 
I'm mostly watching documentaries, 
and with documentaries we're also 
careful to judge the importance of the 
story verses how well the film 'works.'" 

At smaller or more thematically 
focused festivals, where the submis- 
sions are fewer, the initial screening 
step may be skipped and the films will 
be first watched by a group. In the case of very young festi- 
vals, like Other Minds, a San Francisco film festival dedicat- 
ed to films about new music and avant garde composers, the 
programming is "curated" by one individual. In this case, it 
was Charles Amirkhanian. "We originally wanted to show all 
the great European television documentaries about new 
music that Americans are missing," Amirkhanian explains. 
"While putting the line up together, I asked some people for 
advice, but I had so much that I wanted to show . . . that I 
programmed the first festival myself." 

Daryl Chin, a twenty-five-year veteran screener at the 
Asian American International Film Festival in Manhattan, 
remembers similarly simple days when AAIFF was starting 
out. "There wasn't always a committee," Chin says, "there 
was just whoever was working on the festival at the time, 
and we would watch what came in." Chin has also served as 
a screener for New York's Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. 
Both AAIFF and NYGLFF have become large enough to 
need individual screeners as well as screening committees, 
where submissions can be discussed. SXSW also uses sec- 
ond-round screening committees to assess the films given 
to the take-home screeners. "We'll look at the ones that did 
well and the ones that didn't do as well," Herrep says. 

During these meetings, choices are narrowed until a 
consensus is formed for including or excluding each film. 
But this isn't a silent jury. Screening committee members 
lobby for the films they care about. In these meetings, it is 
possible for a film without much support to move on after 
one or two individuals argue strongly in its defense. 
Herrep remembers many times where individuals became 

Left: Hamptons programmer Rajendra Roy. Above: Mocha 
Jean Herrep and SXSW panelist Molly Steenson. 




advocates for a certain film and were able to convince the 
group to get behind a film. "One of the benefits of pro- 
gramming committees," says Chin, "is keeping the process 
open for many points of view. 
Filmmakers should know that unless 
their work is really bad . . . there are 
people trying to find a way to fit their 
work in so that it can be programmed 
and seen by an audience." 

"The screening committee is exactly 
what it says it is," says Rajendra Roy, 
director of programming at The 
Hamptons International Film Festival 
in New York. "The individuals on the 
screening committee are a filter, and 
one I have to be able to trust: 
Watching all the submissions myself 
would be simply too time consum- 
ing." As the director of programming, 
Roy knows that it is ultimately his rep- 
utation that is on the line. So after the committee has done 
its job, his is really only beginning. Roy watches all the 
highly ranked films, as well as some that received the low- 
est marks, to see what inspired such a negative reaction. 

Every festival programmer is different, and every film 
festival has its own set of goals. A festival's agenda might be 
to support Asian American filmmakers (AAIFF), or inde- 
pendently produced films (SXSW), or world-class auteurs 
(Cannes). Upon close inspection, applicants may find that 
each festival has a surprisingly narrow focus. Every pro- 
grammer who spoke with The Independent for this article 
was adamant that filmmakers must first try to understand 
the focus of each festival they want to enter. 

"All festivals have a focus," says Chin, "even the New York 
Film Festival, which is supposed to show the best of the best 
of the festival crop of that year, has a focus. AAIFF is differ- 
ent from [other Asian and Asian American] festivals put on 
by the National Asian American Telecommunications 
Association (NAATA) in San Francisco or by Visual 
Communications (VC) in LA. They focus on work dealing 
with 'the Asian and Asian American experience.' AAIFF's 
focus has always been to showcase work made by Asians and 
Asian Americans. If we had been offered Sense and Sensibility, 
we would have shown it because of Ang Lee's participation. 
NAATA and VC would definitely not have shown it." 

At more broadly programmed festivals such as The 
Hamptons, accurately understanding the festival's specific 
guidelines will help filmmakers decide if the festival is an 
appropriate place to submit their films. "Filmmakers 
should know the rules," Roy says, "absolutely. Rules control 
so much of what we do at The Hamptons that filmmakers 
really need to ask questions to get the right information." 
When it comes to The Hamptons, only very specific kinds 



April 2003 | The Independent 45 



of films are accepted. "American first- or second-time direc- 
tors—nor necessarily born in the US but produced here— 
and without distribution compete for The Golden Starfish 
Award; features and documentaries about world conflict 
are part of the traditional 'Conflicts and 
Resolutions' segment. Everything else is 
out or competition, in the World Cinema 
category," Roy explains. Thus if your film 
is an American independent but not a pre- 
miere, its only hope at The Hamptons is if 
it is considered special enough to hold its 
own among films from world-class direc- 
tors from across the dobe in the World 
Cinema category. 

"I think filmmakers need to figure out 
exactly what they need," says Roy. "Is it 
press coverage? Is it prize money and 
press coverage but perhaps not a distribu- * 

tion deal? Once they decide what they 
need, then thev should strate£ize." 

At The Hamptons, a film can garner one of the largest 
cash prizes of any festival, The Golden Starfish, which will 
earn significant press coverage, but The Hamptons is not 
traditionally a place where distribution deals are made. In 
contrast, a film playing at Sundance, even in a low-profile 
category, may garner distributor attention by the mere fact 
that it is at Sundance. 

The Hamptons is by no means alone in its focus on pre- 
mieres. SXSW tries to show only films that haven't shown in 
Austin before. "We don't focus on premieres just for pre- 
mieres' sake," says Roy, "but because when a premiere wins, it 
will garner press, as opposed to getting press first someplace 
else where it played first. This brings attention to the festival 
and to the filmmaker. It's a two-way street. We can get front- 
page notice in The Hollywood Reporter and Variety for our win- 
ner, and that wouldn't happen if the film had already been in 
Sundance or Toronto. Regionally it would get press, but 
nationally and internationally it wouldn't work." 

The decision of which films ultimately screen at a festival 
is also highly influenced by the personal idiosyncrasies of 
programmers and the screening committee members. While 
some of the tastes and interests of various festival staffs can 
be deciphered by their programming histories and reputa- 
tions, different things will influence them each year. 

"It is very personal," says Roy. "I'm personally interested in 
diversity— of subject, filmmaker, etc.— and I'm interested in 
good stories. Last year we ended up with fifty percent of our 
competition entries directed by women. It wasn't something 
we planned; it slowly became apparent that we had a lot of 
strong entries by women, and that fed us to look for more. It 
was a naturally developing trend that we saw and then 
pushed. And it's not something I would necessarily repeat." 

Everyone who spoke to The Independent for this article 




perked up when asked: What advice would you give film- 
makers considering submitting a film to your festival? 
"When I get a film," Herrep says, "I don't get any of the pub- 
licity materials or anything. I just get the tape. So if there is 
anything I need to know— a section with 
bad sound that I need to overlook, or a key 
section you want to highlight— put it [phys- 
ically] on the tape. Don't write it on the box 
or tape it on the cassette, because even that 
might get lost: Write the note directly on 
the video, otherwise I may not see it." 

"Also, if the filmmaker knows someone 
on the committee— even if it's someone 
they met for two minutes at another festi- 
val—they should definitely e-mail them or 
contact them in some way so their film is 
flagged." Herrep continues, "It's no guar- 
antee, but like I said, all the tapes at SXSW 
go through one office and it's very easy to 
not get a specific film to the right person." 
"Personal recommendations always help," says Roy. "It's 
just a way of flagging something for extra attention. Also 
important is that you submit your best work. You don't 
want to get into a situation where you're submitting some- 
thing that is not quite finished and if it doesn't get in, you 
are going to go back, work on it, and resubmit it next year. 
It just won't work. Don't rush something you don't feel is 
the best it can be. Unless you're a known quantity." 

A specific issue Roy noticed programming The 
Hamptons last year involved short films. There was a large 
quantity of films that were in between shorts and features 
and thus were very difficult to program. "The problem this 
year [2002] was all these mini features. There is nothing a 
programmer can do with them. They are too long to play 
before a feature, and two of them make a whole program. I 
would tell filmmakers not to make mini features, but if 
that is what they really want to do, then they need to pri- 
oritize the festivals they submit to. Send their films to 
short film festivals like Aspen's shorts festival, and not 
someplace like The Hamptons, who just doesn't have the 
space for programs of shorts." 

Chin, perhaps because he's been screening films longer 
than anyone else The Independent spoke to, hopes filmmak- 
ers don't see the relationship between programmers and 
filmmakers as adversarial. "Filmmakers should never take 
a rejection personally. There are just too many extenuating 
circumstances," he explains. 

Aaron Krach is the arts editor at Gay City News and The Villager 
newspapers. To reach him via e-mail, write to aaron@aaronkrach.com. 



Asian American International Film Festival veteran programmer 
Daryl Chin. 



46 The Independent | April 2003 



Specialty of 
the Arthouse 



By Ray Pride 



If moviemaking is smoke and mirrors, the distribution 
and exhibition of films proves that smoke is only 
another special effect. 
Between the Oscar campaigns for studio specialty films 
(sometimes labeled "arthouse" or "indie" movies), the 
record take at the box office last year, and 2002's big, fat 
independent Cinderella story, it might seem as if this is a 
great time for venues showing independent films. And to 
some degree it is— just not for any of those reasons. 

While box office sales were up twelve percent in 2002, 
grossing almost $9.4 billion, most of 
the money was from blockbusters such 
as Spider-Man and James Bond's prom- 
ise to Die Another Day, products that 
must reap their immense grosses over a 
few weekends. And unlike My Big Fat 
Greek Wedding, most movies that thrive 
on word-of-mouth advertising, rather 
than multimillion-dollar ad campaigns, 
would hardly flatter the bottom lines 
of the big studios. But the release of a 
smaller feature does not have to be only 
another way to build word-of-mouth 
interest for its eventual video release. 
Increasingly, there is a substantial 
amount of money on the table for alter- 
native distributors and venues that 
want to cater to the moviegoers outside 
of the teenage demographic— substan- 
tial in the real world, if not in 
Hollywood bookkeeping. 

There are more screens and more films in more cities for 
independent work than ever before. "The penetration of 
specialized films has grown dramatically in the past few 
years," says Eamonn Bowles, who heads Magnolia Pictures, 
distributor of Late Marriage and Read My Lips and who pro- 
grammed the late, lamented Shooting Gallery Film Series. 
"I'm routinely playing cities that I never would have ten 
years ago— not that these cities are doing particularly well 
with most of the art product. Because of the boom in 



Silas Kerati as Jogona and Karoline Eckertz as Regina in 
Caroline Link's Nowhere Africa. 



screen expansion of a few years back, there are still excess 
screens in many markets. Add that to the fact that the 
upside for specialized films has taken a quantum leap over 
the last few years, and you have just about every quasi met- 
ropolitan area booking more art films." 

The larger chains such as AMC and Loews offer the 
chance for wider releases of movies like Todd Haynes Far 
From Heaven or Pedro Almodovar's Talk To Her. But these 
films still need to be nurtured on the festival circuit to 
build up steam and make them viable chain products. As 




the quality and size of the screens they assign these film 
makes clear, the oligopoly of exhibitors aren't there for the 
health of distributors, moviegoers, or filmmakers. And 
they don't usually try their hand at films from smaller dis- 
tributors, such as Zeitgeist's Oscar-nominated German 
entry Nowhere Africa or Cowboy Pictures's release of Lynne 
Ramsay's Morvern Collar. 

The true home of the independent film is the arthouse. 
"Major chain exhibitors generally don't provide the support 
or savvy on a local level needed to find audiences for spe- 
cialized films," Cowboy head John Vanco says. "Most of the 
time, success for smaller films in small markets is driven by 



April 2003 | The Independent 47 



downed individuals with a vested interest in their own inde- 
pendent theaters -sometimes commercial venues bur often 
nonprofit or semitheatrical." Vanco cites examples such as 
the Hopkins Center in Hanover, New Hampshire, the Abbey 
Theatre in Durango, Colorado, and the Ragtag in 
Columbia. Missouri. "They all have developed audiences 
that trust their programming enough to go see movies 
there that don't have the benefit of studio machinery and 
national media muscle behind them," he says. 

But United Artist's Bingham Rav, another veteran of inde- 
pendent film distribution, argues that Hollywood's muscle 
is being used to help arthouse films. In the case of UA, which 
is a subsidiary of MGM, its ongoing release of Bowling for 
Columbine is already the highest-grossing American narrative 
documentary ever. At about $25 million, Columbine has 
taken in more than triple the amount of the last record hold- 
er, which happened to have been Moore's own Roger & Me. 
"Because of the unique relationship between UA and MGM," 
Ray says, "UA is able to tap into the strength of their distri- 
bution force and accomplish what is difficult or impossible 
for the smaller independent companies. Films like Bowling 
for Columbine, and really all our other films, can be nurtured 
and handled with TLC, and then at the appropriate time 
broadened out into multiplexes throughout North America, 
bier and small markets alike." 

The term "arthouse" no longer refers solely to the one- 
or two-screen calendar house rotating a mix of classics, for- 




eign, and independent film. Arthouses are now a multi- 
tiered collection of niche markets. Any number of conflict- 
ing economic and social forces are at work for and against 
the arthouse, and single-screen theaters in particular are 
finding it hard to survive. These old-fashioned cathedrals 
of dreams continue to close; this winter saw the New Art 
Cinema in Champaign, Illinois, close, as well as Salt Lake 
City's Vista Theater, one of the last Cinerama-sized the- 
aters still in operation. 



In the 1990's, chains like Loews Cineplex and United 
Artists Theaters overbuilt and overspent in their rush to 
megaplex the landscape. As with most boom scenarios, this 
led to bankruptcies as a result of the millions invested in 
stadium seating, stereo sound, and super-size cupholders. 
An unintended result was the consolidation of the indus- 
try, with a handful of players swooping down and cherry- 
picking the most profitable venues. Regal Entertainment 
Group, owned by reclusive Denver billionaire Philip 
Anschutz, is the largest chain, with more than 5,790 
screens in 545 locations, combining Regal Cinemas with 
Edwards Theaters and United Artists Theaters. Anschutz's 
Qwest Communications owns one of the most advanced 
fiber-optic networks, which will be an important factor in 
the acceleration of digital delivery and projection of 
movies. (In February, Regal signed to pay $200 million for 
over half of the theaters owned by Hoyts Cinemas.) 

Larger chains, like most corporations, are interested in 
their own future. By buying screens out of bankruptcy, or 
smaller chains, without having to assume their past obli- 
gations, these debt-free concerns are free to invest in capi- 
tal improvements, such as the digital projection equipment 
that the Regal Cinemas concern has begun to install in 
many of their newly purchased theaters. But this does not 
mean that smaller, shot-on-digital-video features are com- 
ing your way soon. More likely, it means that nighttime 
showings of Star Wars: Episode III will be augmented by day- 
time video conferencing, or, as many fear, the distribution 
of major sports events that were formerly on network tele- 
vision. "For the most part, only the real high-profile break- 
out films play to any meaningful gross, but at least other 
quality films get exposed to an audience in these towns, 
where they hadn't been before. This is a point to grow 
from," Bowles comments. 

Two other deep-pocketed concerns have benefited from 
the consolidation— Oaktree Capital Management and a 
Canadian company called Onex. Onex attempted to 
acquire Landmark Theaters for $80.2 million, reportedly 
intending to rebrand many Loews Cineplex houses with 
the classier Landmark moniker. But as a result of the 
antitrust laws brought about in the 1950's, when studios 
were forced out of their exhibition monopolies, the deal 
didn't take: "The parties were unable to obtain the required 
regulatory consents for the transaction," according to the 
company's own press release. 

The plan to purchase the financially shaky Landmark 
chain may have been an attempt to dance around the very 
letter of the law, which prohibited the sale and kept the 
arthouse chain on its own. According to LA Weekly colum- 
nist Nikki Finke, the acquisition strategy "appears to have 
been devised to avoid antitrust scrutiny and to keep a low 
profile with government agencies." By purchasing debt 
instead of assets, it avoids a long-standing antitrust 



48 The Independent | April 2003 



requirement "which prohibits any 'person' from making 
acquisition of stock or assets where the effect might be sub- 
stantially to lessen competition or to create a monopoly." 

In Seattle, as in several other cities around the country, 
Landmark Theaters has entrenched itself as the brand 
name exhibitor for specialty films. Landmark has been so 
successful in Seattle that the Loews Cineplex' Uptown has 
begun competing with them, showing movies like Roger 
Dodger and The Quiet American. 

This battle between the little chain and the big chain 
seems to be creating an atmosphere where even smaller 
venues that rely on creative programming and less-publi- 
cized "art films" are finding success. The Northwest Film 
Forum, which bought its first theater, the compact Grand 
Illusion Cinema, in 1995, expanded by opening the Little 
Theatre. The Northwest Film Forum has come to rely on 
innovation, such as an upcoming Claire Denis retrospec- 
tive, a four-film Douglas Sirk sampler, and such brilliant 
but strange films as Songs from the Second Floor. They have 
also brought makers to Seattle, such as Deco Dawson, the 
prolific Winnipeg filmmaker who was Guy Maddin's cine- 
matographer on Hearts of the World, and they even commis- 
sioned him to write a play for the event. 

As the large commercial chains lean towards "indie" 
films, making "indie" mean "clever mainstream," 
Landmark finds itself choosing edgier work again, which 
then pushes the Grand Illusion toward international 
movies and retrospectives, with the Little Theatre standing 
up for the underground. A pretty picture, especially with 
even smaller concerns bringing up the rear guard. A dozen 
independent curators plan an April alternative-venue film 
festival called Satellites, which began as a reaction to the 
Seattle International Film Festival, in much the same way 
that Slamdance arose as a response to Sundance. 

Collaborations are taking place between independent 
exhibitors in ways unheard of in the past, particularly where 
technology is concerned. "The alternative venues are team- 
ing up, communicating, and cooperating. And that never 
used to happen," comments Andy Spletzer, a Seattle-based 
programmer and former critic for that city's weekly, Stranger. 

In Memphis, a group called Indie Memphis split a book- 
ing of Jean-Luc Godard's recent digital film In Praise of Love, 
between the Muvico chain's Peabody Place 22 and the 
Memphis Digital Arts Cooperative's First Congo Arthouse 
Theater, a 108-seat venue located in a church. The critic of 
the metro daily The Commercial Appeal approvingly 
described the showing as "the most challenging, intimidat- 
ing, and anti-commercial work to be booked into a 
Memphis theater since at least 1996." 

A twenty-something gallery scene is burgeoning in 



Left Page: Muvico's Peabody Place 22, Memphis. Above: 
Seattle's Little Theatre. 



Chicago. The artist-run Wicker Park Heaven Gallery split a 
March series of internationally selected shorts, Video 
Mundi, with one of the city's more complex edifices, the 
Cultural Center. And on another level, the Starz Filmcenter 
in Denver was created through a collaboration between the 
University of Colorado, the Denver Film Society, and mini- 




distributor and exhibitor Magnolia Pictures, which man- 
ages and programs the venue. 

"Things have really started to cook theater-wise," Bowles 
comments about Magnolia, which also owns successful 
theaters in Texas and Colorado, and is responsible for 
booking films in the new Modern Art Museum of Fort 
Worth. "[Fort Worth] is a market that has no appreciable 
art film scene, but a vibrant museum, theater, music, and 
overall high-culture scene," Bowles explains. "It just didn't 
make sense that there was such a small audience for film 
[there]. But putting the films in the right context seems to 
galvanize the audience." 

For arthouses, success continues to be keyed to finding 
the right audience. Cowboy Pictures's John Vanco has done 
unexpectedly well with films like The Hank Greenberg Story. 
He breaks out the resilience of George Butler's Endurance 
documentary as an example of a film that found an audi- 
ence in many different smaller cities. "We had long runs 
with indie theaters in all of the upper Midwest, northern 
California, and Pacific Northwest. Fifteen weeks at the 
Nickelodeon in Santa Cruz, nine at the Crest in 
Sacramento, nineteen at the Rafael Film Center in Marin 
County, plus lots of short good runs in Wyoming, 
Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington state, [and] 
seven weeks at the Wilma in Missoula," Vanco says. 

Ray Pride's column, "Pride, Unprejudiced," appears each Friday at 

Moviecitynews.com. He writes about movies for indie WIRE, Filmmaker, 

Cinema Scope and Chicago's Newciry, among other publications. 



April 2003 | The Independent 49 



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TOTALLY INDEPENDENT 



policy 



The Media Policy Wars 

NEW TECHNOLOGY MEETS OLD INDUSTRY 
By Ernesto Martinez 



I here is a tremendous and 
silent battle being fought 
these days, the effects of 
which could create a culture 
(locally, nationally, and globally) that 
is completely beholden to the media 
giants, even more so than the present. 
The old-culture industries are engag- 
ing with the new digital spaces and 
internet users on a number of fronts 
to wrest the rights and uses of emerg- 
ing technologies in their favor. Since 
this amorphous collision is taking 
place in Congress, the courts, and in 
the regulatory arena, there is a tenden- 
cy to report the events piecemeal and 
thus they never quite enter the nation- 
al stage as pressing issues for the 
broad citizenry. 

The war, as Stanford law professor 
Lawrence Lessig describes, is about 
whether the old-culture industries 
will forge the new internet architec- 
ture into their own image, or if the 
internet and its diverse users will force 
these media leviathans to re-invent 
themselves and allow an extensive 
"innovation commons" to flourish. 
While the corporations are forming 
concerted efforts to shape the inter- 
net, and thus culture, in their own 
image, the public, unorganized and 
often ill informed, is left holding a cer- 
tain blind faith in their congressional 
senators and representatives to speak 
on their behalf. Ironically, it is pre- 
sumably the responsibility of these 
very media giants to inform the public 
about what is taking place. 

This stealth collision is taking 
place at the busy intersection where 
copyright law, technology policy, 
telecommunication policy, cultural 
policy, and the public interest meet. 
In recent years the culture industries 
have been successfully lobbying to 



establish legislated digital technolo- 
gies to limit both legal uses of, and 
access to, their copyrighted works. At 
the same time the Federal Communi- 
cations Commission (FCC), under 
Chairman Michael Powell, is lurching 
closer to further deregulation of all 
industries under its long reach. 
Deregulation of the telecommunica- 
tions industry continues the trend of 
the past forty years to extend owner- 
ship of media into private hands and 
out of the public's grasp. During this 
period, copyright terms have been 
extended eleven times, with the 



review two of the media ownership 
rules. A year later the review was 
expanded to all six rules. The 
Telecommunications Act of 1996, 
which relaxed national broadcast own- 
ership limits, requires the FCC to 
review its media ownership rules every 
two years and to justify those rules or, if 
unable to, to remove them. The FCC 
has based the standard of whether these 
rules are necessary within the frame- 
work of marketplace competition. 

While the all important phrase 
"serving the public interest" may seem 
to support diversity and localism, it is 
clear from the FCC's actions in the 
past, such as the examination of digi- 
tal televion, that the public are posi- 
tioned as consumers of broadcast tele- 
vision. The questions of diversity 
become questions of diversity of chan- 
nels and genres of content, and a 



This stealth collision is taking place at the 
busy intersection where copyright law, 
technology policy, telecommunication policy, 
cultural policy, and public interest meet. 



latest copyright extension being the 
1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term 
Extension Act (CTEA). CTEA defines 
the constitutionally permitted "limit- 
ed time" of exclusive rights as ninety- 
five years for corporations (from sev- 
enty-five years established in 1976), 
and author's life plus seventy years 
for individuals or their estates. 

Following are some of the recent 
events unfolding in the courts, in 
Congress, and at the FCC. It 
behooves media arts participants to 
seize the debate on these issues and 
to stave off the attempt at suffocat- 
ing the precious little air given to 
independent media. 

FCC: deregulation 
and big media 

In September 2001, the FCC initiated 
a "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" to 



'democracy' of television becomes uni- 
versal access. 

On October 1, 2002, the FCC 
released a series of studies and analy- 
ses that serve as a framework for the 
media ownership proceeding. The 
FCC sought comments on the studies 
until 2003. There was an unprecedent- 
ed number of responses filed by indi- 
viduals and organizations opposed to 
media consolidation. The existing 
rules under consideration are: 

National Broadcast Ownership Cap lim- 
its any one entity from owning an 
interest in more than thirty-five per- 
cent broadcast licensees in relation to 
national coverage. 

Dual Network Rule prevents major 
broadcast networks from owning 
interests in each other. 



April 2003 | The Independent 51 



Newspaper Broadcast Cross-owners 
limits an entity from owning a broad- 
cast station and a daily newspaper in 
the same marker. 

Duopoly Rule limits the number of 
broadcast stations an entity can own 
in a particular market. 

Local Radio Competition Limits restricts 
local radio ownership to up to eight 
stations, depending on total number 
of stations in a market. 

Television-Radio Cross-Ownership Rule 
prevents one entity from owning both 
a radio station and a television station 
in the same market. 

The FCC studies are based on policy 
findings of previous FCC committees 
that looked to the marketplace for 
regulatory salves, specifically from the 
Reagan era under the leadership of 
Chairman Mark Fowler. The Powell- 
led FCC is well known for favoring 
further deregulation as a regulatory 
policy. The measures for meeting the 
"public interest" are then based on 
competition and diversity of program- 
ming standards. Powell has stated at 
various times that competition in the 
marketplace is sufficient to ensure 
diversity and thus the "public inter- 
est" obligation. 

Originally the FCC declined to hold 
any public meeting on the review but 
has recently held forums across the 
country (see pg. 36). 

The Digital Millennium 
Copyright Act (DMCA) 1998 

The DMCA became law in 1998. The 
law attempts to codify unauthorized 
access to, or use of, copyrighted 
works by restricting the end-user 
activity, much of which many believe 
falls under fair use and other unreg- 
ulated uses of works. The DMCA 
enjoins individuals circumventing 
industry encryption devices in order 
to access works. It further criminal- 
izes the intellectual process of creat- 



ing and distributing circumvention 
tools. Pamela Samuelson, a Berkeley 
law professor, argues that the DMCA 
was an outcome of the battle 
between Hollywood and Silicon 
Valley. She believes that the content 
industries on the one hand wanted 
to strictly control their works and 
ban technologies that have circum- 
vention-enabling uses. Silicon Valley, 
on the other hand, opposed the 
broad legislation because of the 
detrimental effects on their practice 
of reverse engineering, computer 
security testing, and encryption 
research. The end result was the 
DMCA, a highly unwieldy and inco- 
herent piece of legislation.The appar- 
ent far reach of the DMCA has been 
tested in two cases recently, one a case 



ElcomSoft. The jury instructions said 
that merely offering a product that 
could violate copyrights was not 
enough to warrant a conviction. The 
establishment of this precedent, 
along with new bills by Rep. Zoe 
Lofgren and Rick Boucher named the 
Digital Choice and Freedom Act of 
2002 and the Digital Media 
Consumer's Right Act (DMCRA), 
respectively, attempt to restore some 
of the public's rights with respect to 
copyrighted works which have been 
eroded over the past few years 
through the use of restrictive tech- 
nologies and so-called "end-user 
license agreements." And significant- 
ly, these bills set forth the importance 
in providing the greatest degree of 
access to creative works. In other 



The war is about whether old-culture industries 

will forge the new internet architecture into 

their own image, or if the internet and its 

diverse users will force these media leviathans 

to re-invent themselves and allow an 

extensive "innovation commons" to flourish. 



against the distribution of software 
(DeCSS) that allows DVD's to be 
played on an open-source Linux oper- 
ating system and another case that 
involves ElcomSoft, a Russian soft- 
ware firm that designed software to 
enable access to encrypted works. 
Russian cryptographer Dmitri 
Sklyarov was arrested by US federal 
agents after he presented parts of a 
paper on "eBooks Security." Skylarov 
outlined a program used to disable 
Adobe's e-book Reader in order to 
change content to an easier reading 
format, for printing or copying. 
Skylarov was eventually set free with 
the condition that he testify against 
ElcomSoft. 

In December in San Jose, 
California, the jury rendered a "not 
guilty" verdict in the case against 



words, although the majority of the 
discussion focuses on citizens as con- 
sumers, there is a tacit understanding 
that creativity is cultivated best when 
cultural producers have a certain 
degree of freedom to build on the 
past in creating their works, while 
access to these works is of equal 
importance in completing the circuits 
among production, distribution, and 
consumption of culture. 

Digital Rights Management: 
technological fixes to the 
problem of copyright 

The DMCA set the precedent for 
attempting to legislate beyond copy- 
right restrictions for the protection of 
works, although these extended 
restrictions are now being lessened 
through the above-mentioned bills. A 



52 The Independent | April 2003 



bevy of approaches to content control 
is being launched through what is 
being euphemistically called "digital 
rights management" (DRM). This ter- 
tiary strategy by the content indus- 
tries in their battle for maintaining 
control of digital spaces is an attempt 
to control technologically, under the 
force of law, uses of their content and 
thereby uses of other's content, i.e., 
independent media. The rationale by 
the industry is that digital technology 
has created a digital space where pira- 
cy has run amok. Digital copies are 
perfect reproductions and cost 
almost nothing to make. Therefore, 
greater control is necessary for the 
protection of "intellectual property" 
(copyrighted works). But public inter- 
est organizations such as Public 
Knowledge, the Media Access Project, 
the Center for Digital Democracy, the 
Electronic Frontier Foundation, and 
law professors at Harvard, Berkeley, 
Stanford, and other respected univer- 
sities agree that the content industry 
is more concerned with regaining 
control over the uses of copyrighted 
works in the developing digital envi- 
ronments that will integrate the inter- 
net, television, home recorders, and 
computers. At least two digital rights 
management systems are being pro- 
posed as legislation. 

The broadcast flag 

One DRM issue, the broadcast flag, 
is designed to allow content owners 
to protect their copyrights by mark- 
ing digital-television programs so 
that new TV's, recorders, and com- 
puters will recognize the "flags" and 
limit copying, the purpose being to 
strictly tether content to specific 
hardware so that the content can not 
be digitally redistributed. 

The broadcast flag is being champi- 
oned by the Broadcast Discussion 
Protection Group, an organization 
formed from within affected indus- 
tries (content producers and hardware 
makers) of the newly arriving digital 
television environment. The group's 



express purpose is to "evaluate techni- 
cal solutions for preventing unautho- 
rized redistribution" of digital TV 
content. On August 8, 2002, the FCC 
formally began considering whether 
or not to adopt a broadcast flag stan- 
dard for new digital-broadcast televi- 
sion programs. 

This proposal raises questions 
about how previously unregulated 
uses of copyright works would be lim- 
ited or restricted under the broadcast 
flag. Other questions raised by Public 
Knowledge, the Consumers Union, 
and the Center for Democracy and 
Technology are whether this flag, ini- 
tially intended for HDTV, might set a 
precedent and unleash more intrusive 
DRM technologies into other digital 
environments such as the internet. 
The Consumer Broadband and 
Digital Television Act introduced by 
Hollings is just such a bill, but its pas- 
sage is not imminent at this time. 

Secure platforms 

Another group introducing ideas on 
technology into Washington is the 
Trusted Computing Platform 
Alliance (TCPA), a group with just 
under two hundred corporate mem- 
bers. Their goal is to create a "new 
computing platform for the next cen- 
tury that will provide for improved 
trust in the PC platform." One piece 
of software designed to build on the 
TCPA hardware is Microsoft's 
Palladium. What this type of configu- 
ration could possibly do is provide a 
highly secure, trusted environment 
for systems such as electronic pay- 
ment. But this type of platform could 
also function as a "trusted" digital 
rights management environment 
where tightly circumscribed pay-for- 
play uses reduce the general comput- 
er to a sophisticated television. In this 
sense "trusted" means the provider is 
sure that the user will not be able to 
leave the technologically specified 
uses delimited by the provider. 
Senator Fritz Hollings is also pushing 
Congress on behalf of TCPA to incor- 




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consumer electronics. 

The courts and the 
Constitution: copyright 
extensions vs. creative freedom 

In the name of creativity and freedom 
of expression, the Constitution states 
an intention "to promote the progress 
of science and useful arts" and grants 
an "exclusive right" for a limited time 
to authors and inventors of their 
respective writings and discoveries. 
Temporary (limited times) monopoly 
control and profits that the 
Constitution lets Congress give to 
authors, artists, scientists, and corpora- 
tions (a type of "body") are important 
in a society to balance the promotion 
of creativity and free expression by sup- 
porting the creators. Long after Walt 
Disney's death, Disney Inc. remains 
vital and profitable, as does Mickey 
Mouse, whose films would have started 
falling out of copyright in this year if 
the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term 
Extension Act had not passed. 

In the case Eldred v. Ashcroft 
Lawrence Lessig and others argued 
to the Supreme Court this past 
October that the Sonny Bono law 
violates the Copyright Clause 
requirement of "limited times," 
claiming that if Congress can repeat- 
edly extend existing copyrights, then 
"limited times" has no valence. 
Lessig also argued that the law stifles 
the promotion of creativity, a pri- 
mary purpose of the Copyright 
Clause, because it does not allow cre- 
ative works to build on the past. 
Extending monopoly rights for exist- 
ing works does nothing to cultivate 
the creation of new works building 
on what came before. Finally, Lessig 
et al. argued that the law violates the 
First Amendment by preventing 
older works from entering the public 
domain. Although the Supreme 
Court justices were openly disdain- 
ful of the 1998 legislation, they ques- 
tioned whether the issue was one of 
unconstitutionality or just bad law. 



The decision in Eldred v. Ashcroft 
was rendered rather swiftly on January 
15, 2003. The Supreme Court upheld 
the CTEA seven to two, stating that 
congressional power to extend the 
copyright term was constitutionally 
authorized. The majority decision by 
Justice Ruth Ginsberg stated that the 
court did not have the power to ques- 
tion congressional determinations of 
copyright law even if the law was bad 
law. The dissenting opinions by 
Justice Stevens and Justice Breyer 
expressed doubts about the majority 
decision's deference to congressional 
policymaking while in other cases 
exercising judicial power to restrain 
congressional acts. Justice Stevens 
stated that if congressional action on 
copyright law was "judicially unre- 
viewable" then the "basic tenets of our 
constitutional structure" do not 
frame the decision. 

The independent media arts commu- 
nities must seize the debate on these 
issues and expand their roles to 
include artist/citizen/activist/organ- 
izer. Given the sober fact that media 
concentration is a fait accompli, what 
remains imperative for independent 
media activists is vigilance for poten- 
tial spaces where alternative voices 
can be cultivated and to speak out 
about policy that threatens to imper- 
il the limited space for alternatives to 
corporate media. D 

For more information on these issues, contact: 

AIVF: www.aivf.org/advocacy 

Center for Digital Democracy 
www.democraticmedia.org 

Center for Democracy and Technology 
www.cdt.org 

Electronic Frontier Foundation: www.eff.org 

Media Access Project: www.mediaaccess.org 

Public Knowledge: www.publicknowledge.org 

Ernesto Martinez is a doctoral 

candidate at UCLA's Department of Film, 

Television and Digital Media, focusing 

on independent media arts in the US. 



54 The Independent | April 2003 



books 



Building a Tech Library 

THE RIGHT BOOKS FOR YOUR REFERENCE STACK 
By Greg Gilpatrick 



nderstanding the techni- 
I cal advances that fuel the 
latest film and video tools 
and techniques is often an 
overwhelming task for filmmakers 
who just want to tell their stories. One 
of the best ways to master a wide vari- 
ety of tools and techniques is to build 
a reliable library that you can consult 
when in need of a definitive technical 
answer. Technical books for the 
film/video crowd is a growing market 
for publishers, and each week a new 
book on nonlinear editing or digital 
filmmaking seems to arrive on book- 
store shelves. Although most of these 
books are competently researched, 




there are definitely some that are a 
better investment than others. 

Most filmmakers usually have at 
least a couple of technical books they've 
picked up over the years, but they typi- 
cally view them with distaste because 
the writing is so excruciatingly bad or 
boring. But there are some technical 
film and video books out there whose 
authors actually know a thing or two 
about keeping their readers interested 



as well as knowing their subject inside 
and out. Although none of the follow- 
ing books will end up on your list of 
great literature, they will be books you 
return to over and over both because of 
their expertise and their readability. 

Production Essentials 

There are few people working in pro- 
duction who wouldn't benefit from a 
little basic knowledge of topics such as 
camera operation and handling film 
and video media. A film school educa- 
tion usually lays this groundwork, but 
for those who didn't go to film school 
or need a refresher course, The 
Filmmaker's Handbook, revised edition, 



[ d ^i* t a%U 

CINEMATOGRAPHY 

& DIRECTING 



1999 (Plume, $20), by Steven Ascher 
and Edward Pincus is a good place to 
start. This classic text covers the entire 
process of filmmaking from prepro- 
duction to distribution. Usually, 
books that try to cover every nook and 
cranny of a topic as vast as the film 
world collapse under the weight of 
their own details, but Pincus and 
Ascher manage to impart a huge 
amount of knowledge without crush- 



ing the reader with nonessential infor- 
mation. This book is a little too dry to 
curl up with and read cover-to-cover, 
but The Filmmaker's Handbook makes a 
great reference to flip through when 
you need information on a specific 
part of the filmmaking process. 

While The Filmmaker's Handbook is 
written as an introduction to filmmak- 
ing, Anton Wilson's Cinema Workshop, 
4th edition (ASC press, $19.95), is a ref- 
erence text for people already working 
in production who need definitive 
information about a filmmaking tool 
or technique. This detailed book focus- 
es mainly on camera equipment and 
production strategies, but there is 
additional information about han- 
dling and working with film media and 
postproduction equipment. 

The recent popularity of DV- format 
equipment to shoot and/or edit proj- 
ects has led to an avalanche of books 
on the subject. Most of these books 







VD-Video, 

DVD-ROM, 

1 & WebDVD 



CMPBooks byjfhaljih La Barge 



are written for the first-time video- 
maker and are rarely the type of text 
that professionals use when they need 
specific technical information. One of 
the few really useful books for experi- 
enced makers is written for those 
working with Sony's popular, profes- 
sional DVCAM format, Jon Fauer's 
DVCAM-A Practical Guide To The 
Professional System (Focal Press, 
$24.99). Fauer covers the range of 



April 2003 | The Independent 55 



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DYCAM cameras, VTR's, and media 
with an authority that few writers in 
the field can lay claim to. 

Editing 

Even though scores of books on edit- 
ing are published every year, the vast 
majority of them fail to rise above the 
level of "just another book about edit- 
ing." Since editing encompasses such a 
wide range of technical issues, there are 
few people who have the expertise nec- 



If you are learning to edit film or video for 
the first time with a nonlinear system, do 
yourself a huge favor and start your edu- 
cation with a book on the general con- 
cepts and process of editing, such as 
Hollyn's book and Walter Murch's In the 
Blink of an Eye, second revised edition 
(Silman-James Press, $13.95). For applica- 
tion-specific information, start with the 
manual that came with the software. 
These companies have entire staffs of pro- 
fessional writers who create their manuals, 




essary to write an especially informa- 
tive text on the subject and possess the 
language skills to make such a tome 
anything other than an extremely dry 
read. Thankfully, Norman Hollyn is 
blessed with both these skills. His 
book, The Film Editing Room Handbook, 
third edition (Lone Eagle Press, $24.94) 
will fill you in on virtually all you need 
to know about working in a profes- 
sional editing environment. A career in 
postproduction requires much more 
than just knowing how to operate edit- 
ing software. Hollyn offers his expan- 
sive knowledge of editing room eti- 
quette, organization, process, and tech- 
nology in this surprisingly fun-to-read 
book that is found on the bookshelves 
of many professional editors. 

Even though Avid, Apple, and the 
other software companies dedicate huge 
marketing budgets to convincing you 
otherwise, editing software all pretty 
much works on the same fundamentals. 



so they're usually much more useful than 
you'd expect. For more information 
about Final Cut Pro pick, up Lisa 
Brenneis's series Final Cut Pro For 
Macintosh: Visual Ouickpro Guide (Peachpit 
Press, $29.99). This is the first popular 
handbook for Final Cut and it has been 
revised with each new release of the pro- 
gram. For Avid users, Avid Editing: A 
Guide For Beginning and Intermediate Users, 
second edition, 2003 (Focal Press, $52.95), 
by Sam Kauffmann, is a well-rounded 
introduction to the world of Avid (see 
my review in the September 2002 issue 
of The Independent). 

Titles, animation, and effects 

Even for experienced editors, learning 
how to design and create titles and 
effects using software like Adobe After 
Effects can be a long and arduous 
process. To help lessen the pain of 
learning such a complicated topic, the 
must-read is Creating Motion Graphics 



56 The Independent | April 2003 




THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT 
VIDEO AND FILMMAKERS 



TO SUCCEED AS AN INDEPENDENT 
you need a wealth of resources, 
strong connections, and the best 
information available. Whether 
through our service and education 
programs, the pages of our magazine, 
our web resource, or through the 
organization raising its collective 
voice to advocate for important issues, 
AIVF preserves your independence 
while reminding you you're not alone. 

About AIVF and FIVF 

Offering support for individuals and 
advocacy for the media arts field, 
The Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers (AIVF) is a 
national membership organization 
that partners with the Foundation for 
Independent Video and Film (FIVF), a 
501(c)(3) nonprofit that offers a 
broad slate of education and 
information programs. 

Information Resources 

AIVF workshops and events cover the 
whole spectrum of issues affecting 
the field. Practical guides on festivals, 
distribution, exhibition and outreach 
help you get your film to audiences 
(see other part of insert). 

The Independent 

Membership provides you with a 
year's subscription to The Independent, 
a monthly magazine filled with 
thought-provoking features, profiles, 
news, and regular columns on 
business, technical, and legal matters. 
Plus the field's best source of festival 
listings, funding deadlines, exhibition 
venues, and announcements of 
member activities and services. 



AIVF Online 

Stay connected through www.aivf.org, 
featuring resource listings and links, 
media advocacy information, web- 
original material, discussion areas, 
and the lowdown on AIVF services. 
Members-only features include 
interactive notices and festival 
listings, distributor and funder 
profiles, and archives of The 
Independent. SPLICE! is a monthly 
electronic newsletter that features 
late-breaking news and highlights 
special programs and opportunities. 

Insurance & Discounts 

Members are eligible for discounted 
rates on health and production 
insurance offered by providers who 
design plans tailored to the needs of 
low-budget mediamakers. Businesses 
across the country offer discounts on 
equipment and auto rentals, stock 
and expendibles, film processing, 
transfers, editing, shipping, and other 
production necessities. Members also 
receive discounts on classified ads in 
The Independent. 

Community 

AIVF supports over 20 member- 
organized, member-run regional 
salons across the country, to strengthen 
local media arts communities. 

Advocacy 

AIVF has been consistently outspoken 
about preserving the resources and 
rights of independent mediamakers. 
Members receive information on 
current issues and public policy, and 
the opportunity to add their voice to 
collective actions. 



MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS 

INDIVIDUAL/STUDENT 

Includes: one year's subscription to 

The Independent • access to group 

insurance plans • discounts on 

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Trade Partners • online & over-the- 

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JOINT MEMBERSHIPS 

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LIBRARY SUBSCRIPTION 

Year's subscription to The 

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mailed first class. Contact your 

subscription service to order or call 

AIVF at (21 2) 807-1 400x501. 



88 IMkSSI 

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eSNrm reft 

HBnHn 




With all that AIVF has to offer, can you afford not to be a member? Join today! 

Mail to AIVF, 304 Hudson St., 6th fl, New York, NY 10013; or charge by phone (212) 807-1400 x 503, by fax (212) 463-8519, 
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For Library subscriptions: please contact your subscription service, or call AIVF at (212) 807-1400 x501. 



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with After Effects, second edition, Version 
5.5, 2002, by Trish and Chris Meyers 
(CMP Books, $54.95). The Meyers were 
the first After Effects experts to write 
an effective text on video compositing 
and design for video and film. In the 
two years since its original release, the 
book spawned a sequel, After Effects In 
Production (CMP Books, $49.95), and a 
new release of the original is split into 
two volumes, one for beginners and 
one for experienced designers. 

For people looking for help weeding 
through the vast amount on informa- 
tion on 3D animation, it turns out the 
best publication for a beginner isn't 
even a book. It's the tutorials that come 
with DV Garage's 3D Toolkit. This is a 
great introduction to the production 
of 3D images and animation. For texts 
that go beyond the basics of 3D, New 
Riders' Digital series of books is an 
incredible resource for 3D artists. Each 
book in the series focuses on a specific 
element of the 3D animation process, 
such as Digital Texturing & Painting, by 
Owen Demers, and Jeremy Birn's Digital 
Lighting & Rendering. The books explain 
the concepts in easy-to-understand, 
nonsoftware-specific terms. 

Internet, DVD, and 
digital distribution 

Internet video, DVD's, and Video-CD's 
are just three of the new distribution 
methods available to independents pos- 
sessing typical video editing hardware, 
and each requires a certain level of spe- 
cific knowledge to effectively take 
advantage of them. But there is one 
skill set that all forms of digital media 
distribution require— compression. So 
far, the best book about video compres- 
sion available is Compression For Great 
Digital Video (CMP Books, $49.95), by 
Ben Waggoner. Waggoner was one of 
the first professional video compres- 
sionists, and his knowledge extends 
from the edges of vision science and 
information theory all the way through 
the different types of digital video and 
internet media standards. 

Apple's QuickTime, a versatile system 



for distributing video over the internet, 
is so feature rich that it takes an eight- 
hundred-page book to explain it all. 
Thankfully, Steve Gulie's QuickTime For 
the Web: For Windows and Macintosh, third 
edition, 2000 (Morgan Kaufmann, 
$59.99), covers these technical features 
in plain language that makes sense of 
the many internet-related features of 
QuickTime. Anyone who wants to 
know how to make their video presenta- 
tions on the web seem more profession- 
al should take a look at the book. 

Ralph LaBarge's DVD Authoring & 
Production, 2001 (CMP Books, $54.95), 
exhaustively explains the process of 
making DVD's. Although the book is 
written for people who want to make 
DVD's as a full-time job, the book 
should be an essential reference for 
filmmakers turning out their own 
work on DVD. 

General computing books 

Anyone interested in digital media pro- 
duction needs a solid understanding of 
general computer operation. A simple 
yet comprehensive guide to a comput- 
er's operating system software is a good 
idea for anyone interested in using the 
computer to create their work. While 
there are hundreds of catch-all guides 
to Windows and Macintosh operating 
systems, some of the most useful and 
readable are part of the Missing Manual 
series by New York Times technology 
journalist David Pogue. Mac OS X: The 
Missing Manual, second edition, 2002 
(Pogue Press/O'reilly, $29.95), and 
Windows XP: The Missing Manual, first edi- 
tion (Pogue Press/O'reilly, $24.95), 
should be enough to address any oper- 
ating system software-related questions 
or problems most independent media- 
makers are likely to have. Though these 
books are not specifically about media- 
creation software, most of the general 
information in them applies across the 
realm of computer usage. D 

Greg Gilpatrick is a Brooklyn-based 

filmmaker and consultant. To reach him, 

write to greg@randomroom.com. 




training 



digital/non-linear editing 



Beginning, intermediate, and 
advanced classes are offered 
monthly. 



The Wexner Center for the Arts 
is an Avid Authorized Education 
Center serving Ohio, Indiana, 
Michigan, Western Pennsylvania, 
and Kentucky. 

Call for more information 

Maria Troy, 674 292-7617 

wexner center for the arts 
the ohio state university 
1871 north high street 
columbus, ohio 43210 
www.wexarts.org 



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April 2003 | The Independent 57 



technology 



Hard Disk Recorders 



BOON OR BUST? 

By Robert M. Goodman 



J wide variety of inexpen- 

A si\'e digital disk recorders 
L (DDR) with Fire Wire 
wk hard drives have hit the 
market recently and they are being 
touted as the digital filmmaker's 
answer to a host of production and 
postproduction storage and transfer 
needs. DDR's are digital disc recorders 
that can record video on a hard drive 
with the same controls as a videotape 
recorder. These direct-to-edit devices 
can store your digital camera's signal 



as you shoot and later transfer the 
footage to an edit system's media 
drives. The footage will be available 
instantly because the drive with its 
files (clips) will automatically appear 
on your system's desktop— no capture 
or transfer step required. 

But since you can record your DV 
signal on a miniDV tape and connect 
your camera to a FireWire hard drive 
with a cable, the question is: Are DDR's 
useful tools or just another gimmick? 

Most of these devices are being sold 



for use in the studio, editing bay, and on 
location. While there are some circum- 
stances when it would be useful to have a 
DDR in the field, there are not many. 
Portability is just too big of an issue for 
most videomakers to make even the 
smallest of these units (the CitiDISK DV 
by Shining Technology) practical. The 
DDR has to be tethered to your cam- 
corder with a FireWire cable and secured 
somewhere, even if that means slipping it 
into your pocket. Unless you're shooting 
a single-take movie or an over ninety 
minute event (the longest miniDV tape) 
there are not a lot of advantages to using 
DDRs in the field. A sixty-minute tape is 
under $5, and stores the identical materi- 
al as DDR costing $221 to $750. 

Where DDR technology becomes truly 
useful is in postproduction. You can con- 




Firestore FS-1 
($995; hard drive sold 
separately) 
Focus Enhancement; 
www.f ocusi nfo.com 
The Firestore's greatest strength is 
that it is the only DDR with the abil- 
ity to record in DV in seven different 
editing system formats and that 
FireWire drives can be added or 
daisy chained for near universal 
compatibility and maximum flexi- 
bility. It has the most features, 
largest display, and biggest buttons. 
Firestore can display the source time 



code, what the camera is 
generating, and what is 
being recorded on its 
front panel display. But 
the Firestore doesn't 
include its own FireWire 
drive, which adds to the 
price, and it is big 
(8.5"x6"x3"). This unit 
works best in a post set- 
ting. On location, it 
would be cumbersome. 



Sony OSR-DU1 

$2250 

www.sony.com/professional 

The DSR-DU1 is a 
40GB hard drive 
encased in what looks 
like a compact (4" x 
1.75" x 5.6") Sony VCR 
that weighs 1.3 
pounds. This unit is 
designed to work 
equally well on loca- 
tion or in a post envi- 
ronment. Meticulously 
crafted, this version of 



a DDR is expensive and limited by 
its single file format and hard drive 
size. 

One particularly good feature on 
this unit is the DSR-DU1 cache mem- 
ory buffer, which keeps you from 
inadvertently missing the beginning 
of a shot by recording the eight sec- 
onds prior to when you begin shoot- 
ing. This feature, until now only avail- 
able on professional hard drive-based 
ENG cameras, continuously stores 
up to eight seconds of footage in 
memory until you decide to save it to 
the disk by pressing the record but- 
ton on your camera. 





^I^M ^, 




\ 


Sony 


g^ fT5J5jjf",^^--^^H ^^r 


DSR-DU1 


^B^F 



58 The Independent | April 2003 



nect your DV recorder or camcorder 
to one of the DDR's, review footage, 
and store the shots you want to work 
with as files on the DDR without 
tying up the editing system. This saves 
a lot of time and money if you are 
renting an editing system. Even if you 
own the system, having an inexpensive 
logging/transfer workstation is 
worthwhile because it shifts the mun- 
dane process of locating and transfer- 
ring shots to hard drive storage away 
from the most expensive place to 
accomplish the task. 

What separates a standard Fire Wire 
drive from a DDR is the AV/C proto- 
col. This protocol provides VCR-like 
controls that allow you to record, 
stop, and play so that you can choose 
the footage you want. How these con- 



trols are exactly implemented, with 
buttons or switches, varies from man- 
ufacturer to manufacturer. But one 
important difference is whether or 
not a camcorder can control the DDR. 
On the Shining Technology CitiDISK 
DV or Datavideo's DV Bank devices, 
you must manually press record and 
stop on the DDR. But triggering the 
camcorder's record button can start or 
stop both the Firestore FS-1, by Focus 
Enhancement, and Sony's DSR-DU1. 

The real value of having clips on a 
DDR is the time you save by being 
able to copy the files to your editing 
systems, storage drives, or simply use 
the DDR as another drive. This is only 
useful if the DDR stores files in the 
same format as your editing system. 
The Firestore FS-1 is the only DDR 



that provides format options which 
allow the files to really be instantly 
ready to use. The others all use the raw 
DV format. Editing programs such as 
Premiere, Final Cut Pro, and 
XpressDV can import raw DV files but 
then must render the files before they 
can be used. (Premiere uses the AVI 
Type 2 format; Final Cut accepts AVI 
Type 2 or Quicktime; and XpressDV 
uses OMF format.) Rendering files 
into the correct format is fairly quick, 
but copying huge files from one hard 
drive to another is much slower. The 
fastest method is to connect the drive 
and use the files directly from the 
DDR rather than copy them. D 

Robert M. Goodman is a filmmaker and 

coauthor o/Editing Digital Video. Write him 

at robert@stonereader. net. 



DV Bank 

$999; Datavideo 

www.datavideo.com 

This DDR integrates all system 
and communication functions, 
providing unprecedented "instant 
on" service, and eliminating the 
frustrating computer boot-up 
time lag that's typical of comput- 
er-integrated devices. With its 
large, illuminated buttons and 
two-line LCD display, DV Bank 
looks like a VCR. The unique fea- 
tures of this recorder are its ability 
to do seamless loop play, forward 
or reverse variable-speed play, and 
frame-by-frame forward or reverse 




play at the touch of a button. 
DV Bank EZ Cut, a free down- 
load from the company's web- 
site, adds basic editing func- 
tionality. An optional interval- 
ometer makes it possible to do 
time-lapse recordings with 
this unit. 

At 6.7" x 10" x2.8",theDV 
Bank is the largest of the four 
devices, weighing in at 4.5 
pounds. Its 60GB drive pro- 
vides more capacity than the 
Sony DDR for about half the 
price. The penalty you pay is size 
and minimal features. 



CitiDISK DV 
$499-$649 
Shining Technology 
www.shining.com 

CitiDISK DV is the sim- 
plest approach to DDR. 
The unit is a 2.5 " shock- 
mounted FireWire hard 
drive available in capac- 
ities of 20, 30, 40, or 60 




gigabytes with buttons for power 
and record, and switches for bat- 
tery on/off and erase. The smallest 
capacity model (FW1256-20), the 
one I tested, only supports raw DV 
files, and the drive, which comes 
preformatted, uses the FAT32 file 
system, which is compatible with 
Macs and PC's. 

CitiDISK DV is the least 
expensive, smallest (5.5"x3"xl") 
and lightest (under a pound) 
option, though it also has the 
fewest features. 



April 2003 | The Independent 59 



Festivals 

By Bo Mehrad 

Listings do not constitute an 
endorsement. We recommend that 
you contact the festival directly 
before sending cassettes, as details 
may change after the magazine goes 
to press. Deadline: 1st of the month 
two months prior to cover date (e.g., 
May 1st for July issue). Include festi- 
val dates, categories, prizes, entry 
fees, deadlines, formats & contact 
info. Send to: festivals@aivf.org. 



INTERACTIVE FESTIVAL 

LISTINGS ARE AVAILABLE 

AT WWWJklVF.ORG 



DOMESTIC 

ANNAPOLIS FILM FESTIVAL, October 31- 
November 3, MD. Deadline: May 31 . A three- 
day test showcasing independent films & 
documentaries produced by local & nat'l film- 
makers. Its mission is to "celebrate the 
capacity of independent film to move us 
teach us, & entertain us." Cats: feature, doc, 
short. Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm, Beta SP, DV. 
preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $25 shorts 
(under 30 min.); $35 features. Contact: 
Festival, PO Box 59 1 , Annapolis, M D 2 1 40 1 ; 
(410) 263-2388; info@annarjolisfilmfestjval.com; 
www.annapolisfilmfestival.com. 

ATLANTIC CITY FILM FESTIVAL, August 9-16, 
NJ. Deadline: March 1 ; May 25 (final). Cats: 
feature, doc, short, animation, student. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta SP, DV, DVD. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $35, $45 (final); 
Student: $20, $30. Contact: James Doom, 
PO Box 1839. Absecon, NJ 08201; (609) 
487-9299: admin@atlanticcityfilmfestival.com; 
www.atlanticcityfilmfestival.com. 

BOSTON Jewish film festival, November 6- 
16, MA. Deadline: May 15. Fest is a non- 
competitive event Fest screen films & videos 
that highlight the Jewish experience; deal w/ 
themes of Jewish culture/heritage/history; 
or are of particular interest to the Jewish 
community. BJFF presents narrative, doc, 
animated & experimental works. Projects can 
be of any length. Films must not have previ- 
ously screened in Massachusetts. Founded: 
1989. Cats: feature, experimental, animation, 
doc. Formats: Beta SP, 35mm, 1 6mm, DVD. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: none. Contact: 



Festival, 1001 Watertown Street, West 
Newton, MA, 02465; (617) 244-9899; fax: 
0244-9894; programming@bjff.org; www.bjff.org. 

CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S FILM 
FESTIVAL, October 23-November 2, IL. 
Deadline: May 1. The CICFF is the largest 
competitive fest for films & videos for chil- 
dren in North America, and programs over 
200 films & videos from 43 countries target- 
ed primarily for children ages 2-13. Entries 
must have copyright date of previous year or 
later. Fest presents films in contexts which 
encourage dialogue between filmmakers, 
children, parents and educators. Goal is the 
sustenance and nurture of positive images 
for children. Founded: 1984. Cats: Children, 
Adult Produced Feature, Short, TV, 
Animation, Child-produced work (ages 3-1 3), 
youth media, family. Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm, 
Beta SP. Preview on VHS (PAL or NTSC). 
Entry Fee: $40 short (less than 60 mins.) 
$80 feature (60 mins. or more); No fee for 
child-produced films (age 3-13); $5 discount 



CHICKS WITH FLICKS FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, 

August 21, NY. Deadline: May 23. Chicks 
With Flicks is a one-day film event in NYC 
that showcases the works of independent 
women filmmakers. The goal of the fest is to 
encourage, support & foster indie filmmaking 
and generate an audience & supportive fol- 
lowing for women filmmakers. Founded: 
1 999. Cats: Films must be under 30 min., any 
style or genre, Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 1/2". 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $20. Contact: 
Yhane Washington, 188 Norfolk St, #6G, 
New York, NY 10002; (212) 533-7491; 
www.chickswithflicks.org. 

CINEMATEXAS INT'L SHORT FILM & VIDEO 
FESTIVAL, Sept. 16-21, TX. Deadline: May 1 5. 
Annual fest continues tradition of exploring 
the short film as a laboratory for cinema. 
Emerging as one of the premiere short film 
fests in the world, fest features multimedia 
performances by musicians & artists. 
Retrospectives have included a program of 
favorite shorts introduced by Jim Jarmusch, 



San Diego Asian Film Fest 

Taking place on the sun-kissed shores of San 
Diego from October 2-5, the San Diego Asian 
Film Festival is one of the fastest-growing festi- 
vals around. Since its inception in 2000, the fest 
has been steadily building, with a high of over 
8,000 attendees and 115 films screened at last 
year's event. This year's festival promises to continue serving So-Cal audiences 
with a wide array of Asian cinema works. Another noteworthy point: The SDAFF 
is one of the only Asian American fests with an animation category. See listing. 



if submitted via test's site. Contact: CICFF, 
Facets Film and Video, 1517 West Fullerton 
Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614; (773) 281- 
9075; fax: 929-5437; kidsfest@facets.org; 
www.cicff.org. 

CHICAGO UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL, 

August 27- September 2, IL. Deadline: May 1 
(early); May 1 5 (final). Chicago's premiere 
independent film event, CUFF was created to 
promote films & videos that innovate in form, 
technique, or content & to present works that 
challenge & transcend commercial expecta- 
tions, Also presents fest-sponsored screen- 
ings through out the year. Cats: feature, doc, 
experimental, short, animation. Formats: 
16mm, 35mm, S-8, Super 8, DVD, Video, 
Beta SP, Mini DV. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$30; $35 (late). Contact: c/o Bryan Wendorf, 
2545 West Altgeld #1, Chicago, IL, 
60647; (773) 327-FILM; fax: 327-3464; 
info@cuff.org; www.cuff.org. 



as well as the short films of Robert Frank, 
Abbas Kiarostami & a tribute to contempo- 
rary female avant garde filmmakers. 
Founded: 1996. Cats: short, experimental, 
animation, youth media, installation. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2", Beta SP, 
Super 8, S-VHS. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$30 (early); $35 (final). Contact: 
Laurel Row, Dept. of Radio/TV/Film, 
CMA 6.118, Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX 
78712-1091; (512) 471-6497; Fax: 
471-4077; cinematexas@cinematexas.org; 
www.cinematexas.org. 

CITY OF IRVINE HUMAN RIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL, 

October, CA. Deadline: May 1. Annual fest is 
seeking films dealing w/ human rights or int'l 
relations issues. Cats: feature, doc, short, 
any style or genre. Awards: honorarium 
awarded. Formats: Beta, DV. Preview on 
VHS. No Entry Fee. Contact: UCI Human 
Rights Film Festival, 1200 N. Alvarado 



60 The Independent | April 2003 



St, Irvine, CA 90026; (213) 484-8846; 
polyesterprince@hotmail.com; www.polyester 
prince.com. 

DA VINCI FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, July 18-20, 
OR. Deadline: March 20; April 30 (final). Fest 
is looking for original works not exceeding 
30 min. in length (documentaries can only be 
a max of 60 min.) Submissions of any style 
are welcome: animation, narrative, doc, music 
video, foreign, etc. in three main cats: K-12, 
college & independent. Founded: 1988. 
Cats: short, any style or genre. Formats: film, 
video, digital. Preview on VHS (NTSC only). 
Entry Fee: college/indie $15 (early), $25 
(final); K-12 $5 (early), $15 (final). Contact: 
Tina Buescher, 2015 SW Whiteside 
Drive.Corvallis, OR 97333; (541) 752-5584; 
fax: 754-7590; davincifilmfest@aol.com; 
www.davinci-days.org. 

DAHLONEGA INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, June 26-29, 
GA. Deadline: April 15. Festival offers under- 
exposed film & videomakers in emerging dig- 
ital formats a higher-profile venue. Cats: 1 5 
cats (see website). Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm, 
Super 8, DV. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$10-$50. Contact: Barry Norman, 661 
Windcroft Circle, Acworth, GA 30101 ; (404) 
885-4410; fax: 885-0700; info@djff.tv; 
www.diff.tv. 

FILM FEST NEW HAVEN, Sept. 19-21, CT. 
Deadline: May 1; June 16 (final). Film Fest 
New Haven is committed to supporting the 
creativity of independent filmmakers. A year- 
round presence in New Haven, this fest 
showcases the finest independent films to 
film-loving & film-literate audiences. 
Founded: 1 996. Cats: feature, doc, short, ani- 
mation, experimental. Awards: Jury, Audience 
& Cinematography awards. Formats: 35mm, 
1 6mm, 1 /2", S-VHS, Beta, Beta SP, DigiBeta, 
DVD, DV. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $25/$30; $30/$40 (final). Contact: 
Nina Adams, Box 9644, New Haven, 
CT 06536; (203) 776-6789; fax: 776-4260; 
inf o@f i lmfest.org ; www.fi I mfest.org. 

GREAT PLAINS FILM FESTIVAL, July 1 2-29, NE. 
Deadline: May 30. Fest is a biennial regional 
venue for indie film & video artists working in 
the US & Canada. Open to film & videomak- 
ers either from the Great Plains region, or 
those whose film/video realates in content or 
in narrative to the Great Plains. Fest provides 
a forum of the diversity of life on the Great 
Plains through panel discussions, special 
appearances & tributes. Cats: feature, doc, 
short, animation, experimental, youth media. 
Awards: 12 cash prizes ranging from $500- 
$5,000. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 1/2", 3/4", 
S-VHS, Beta, Beta SP, U-matic, DVD. 



Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $25 or $30. 
Contact: Mary Riepma Ross Film Theater, 
Box 880302, Lincoln, NE 68588-0302; 
(402) 472-9 1 00; fax: 472-2576; dladely 1 @unl.edu; 
www.greatplainsfilmfest.org. 

HAMPTONS INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, Oct. 22-26, 
NY. Deadline: May 23 (shorts); June 13 (fea- 
ture/doc). Annual fest for features, shorts & 
documentaries created "to provide a forum 
for filmmakers around the world who express 
an independent vision." Festival offers diverse 
programming w/ premieres by established 
filmmakers, breakthrough films by new direc- 
tors, panel discussions w/ guests from the 
industry & the largest (cash valued) film fest 
prize in the US. Note: Entries accepted for 
Golden Starfish Award features, documen- 
taries & shorts, world cinema (Out-of- 
Competition Features & Docs), shorts (Out- 
of-Competition), View from Long Island, 
Young Videomakers & Student Shorts. 
Founded: 1993. Cats: feature, short, doc, 
world cinema, films of conflict & resolution, 
student, youth media, family, children. 
Formats: 35mm, Beta SP, DigiBeta, Beta. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: shorts $25; fea- 
tures/docs $50 or $35 (early). 
Contact: HIFF, 59 Franklin St. Ste 208, 
New York, NY 10013; (212) 431-6292; 
fax: 431-5440; hiff@hamptonsfilmfest.org; 
www.hamptonsfilmfest.org. 

HOT SPRINGS DOC FILM FESTIVAL, October 
10-19, AR. Deadline: March 28; April 25 
(late). Annual fest accepting nonfiction film 
submissions for one of the country's premier 
nonfiction film celebrations. Noncompetitive 
fest honors films & filmmakers each yr. in 
beautiful Hot Springs Nat'l Park, Arkansas. 
More than 70 films are screened, incl. the 
current year's Academy Award nominees in 
nonfiction cats. Special guest scholars, film- 
makers & celebrities participate in forums & 
lectures. Founded: 1992. Cats: doc. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2", DVD, DV, Mini DV. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $25. Contact: 
Melanie Masino, HSDFI, Box 6450, Hot 
Springs, AR 79102; (501) 321-4747; 
hsdff@docufilminstorg; www.docufilminst.org. 

HYPEFEST, July 25-27, CA. Deadline: Feb 1 3; 
April 30 (final). Fest accepting short films (50 
min. or less), commercials, music videos & 
promos for competition screening. Only 
works completed in the current or previous yr. 
eligible. Cats: short, music video, commer- 
cials. Preview on VHS (NTSC) or DVD. Entry 
Fee: $20 (student w/ ID), $35; final: $45, 
$30 (student). Contact: Festival, 5225 
Wilshire Blvd., Suite 403, Los Angeles, CA 
90036; (323) 938-8363; fax: 938-8757; 
info@hypefest.com; www.hypefest.com. 




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ifp market. Sept 21-26, NY. Deadline: May 1 
(emerging narrative script and No Borders); 
June 1 (shorts, docs, WIP narrative). Annual 
event is the longest-running U.S. market devot- 
ed to new, emerging film talent Large focus on 
Narr/Doc. Works-ln-Progress, Doc./Narr. 
Shorts (under 40 min.), Doc. Features and fea- 
ture-length Scripts. Works compete for accept- 
ance into the following sections: Emerging 
Narrative, No Borders International Co- 
Production Market and Spotlight on 
Documentaries. Cats: feature, doc, work-in- 
progress, short, script Awards: More than 
$100,000 in cash and prizes awarded to 
emerging artists, including two $10,000 
Gordon Parks Awards for Emerging African- 
American filmmakers. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
Beta DigiBeta, . Preview on VHS or DVD. Entry 
Fee: application fee: $50; Registration fees, 
paid on acceptance only: $200 - $450. 
Contact: Festival, 1 04 West 29 St, 1 2 fl., New 
York, NY 10001; (212) 465-8200 x. 107 
(Market), x216 (No Bor-ders); fax: 465-8525; 
marketinfo@ifp.org; www.ifp.org. 

INFACT FILM SERIES, August 15-21, CA. 
Deadline: April 25. Formerly DOCtober: Int'l 
Doc Film Festival, fest is a weeklong int'l 
showcase for documentaries. Fest qualifies 
feature & short-length films for Academy 
Awards consideration as long as they meet 
minimum requirements: no broadcast or 
other TV airing anytime prior to March of cur- 
rent year. Only individual doc films are eligi- 
ble. Cats: doc, short. Formats: 16mm, 35mm. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: see website. 
Contact: Infact, IDA, 1201 West 5th 
Street Ste M320, Los Angeles, CA 90017- 
1461; (213) 534-3600; fax: 534-3610; 
info@documnentay.org; www.documentary.org. 

INT'L FAMILY FILM FESTIVAL, May 16-22, CA. 
Deadline: April 1 1 . Formerly the Santa Clarita 
Int'l Film Festival, IFFF is rapidly becoming 
Southern California's premier showcase for 
independently-produced, socially-responsible 
film entertainment. Founded: 1994. Cats: 
script feature, doc, short, animation, student, 
youth media, family, children, educational. 
Awards: incl. trophies and certificates. 
Formats: 1/2", Beta SP, 35mm. Preview on 
VHS ONLY. Entry Fee: film: $80/$40 
script: $60/$45. Contact: Patte Dee, 
PO Box 801507, Santa Clarita, CA, US 
91380; 661-257-31 31; fax: 661-257-8989; 
patted012@aol.com; www.sciff.org 

lesbian LOOKS. September/October, AZ. 
Deadline: May 15. Fest seeks work of all 
lengths. Fee paid for all works screened. Incl. 
synopsis, brief artist bio & B/W still(s) w/ 
entry. Founded: 1993. Cats: short, doc, fea- 
ture, experimental, any style or genre. 



Formats: 16mm, 1/2". Preview on VHS 
(NTSC only). Entry Fee: $10 Contact: 
Beverly Seckinger, Media Arts, Harvill 226, U. 
of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721; (520) 621- 
1239; fax: 621-9662; bsecking@u.arizonaedu; 
www.arizona.edu/- Igbcom. 

LONG ISLAND FILM FESTIVAL, May 15-18, NY. 
Deadline: April 1 (films); June 1 (screen- 
plays). Annual competitive fest screens over 
50 features & shorts submitted from around 
the world. Cats: feature, short, doc, student, 
experimental. Awards: 1 st prizes presented in 
all cats (film & video), w/ cash awards TBA. . 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2", DVD. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $25 (screen- 
plays & films up to 15 min.); $40 (15 to 30 
min.); $60 (30-60 min.); $75 (over 60 min.) 
Contact: Chris Cooke, Box 13243, 
Hauppauge, NY 11788; (631) 218-4741; 
fax: 853-4888; suffolkfilm@yahoo.com; 
www.lifilm.org. 

LOS ANGELES LATINO INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, July 
1 8-27, CA. Deadline: April 1 4. The fest is pre- 
sented by producer/director/actor Edward 
James Olmos. LALIFF is dedicated to pre- 
senting the diversity & quality of Latino films 
made in the US, Spain, So. America, Mexico & 
the Carribean. A competitive fest, LALIFF 
establishes a platform to accomplish many 
goals, the most important of which is giving 
filmmakers an opportunity to present their 
films in Hollywood, meet potential distributors, 
network w/ studios & learn new technology. 
Founded: 1997. Cats: feature, doc, short, ani- 
mation. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $20 (fea- 
tures); $10 (docs & shorts). Contact: Marlene 
Dermer, 6777 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 500, 
Los Angeles, CA 90028; (323) 469-9066; 
mdermer@earthlink.net; www.latinofilm.org. 

LOUISIANA VIDEO SHORTS FESTIVAL, August 
23, LA. Deadline: May 31. Fest is open to all 
Louisiana residents, Louisiana natives living 
in other states & students attending 
schools/universities in Louisiana. Entries 
may originate in any format. Fest also incls. a 
special Youth category for ages 13-18. 
Founded: 1989. Cats: doc, experimental, ani- 
mation, short, music video, student, youth 
media, any style or genre. Awards: Gold, 
Silver & Bronze; Youth, Animation, 
Community Portrait & Music Video. Formats: 
S-VHS, 1/2", 3/4", Beta SP, DV, Mini-DV 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $15; $5 (ages 
1 3-18). Contact: New Orleans Video Access 
Center, 4840 Banks St, New Orleans, LA 
701 19; (504) 486-9192; novac@neosoft.com; 
www.novacvideo.org. 

LUNAFEST, September-October, CA. 
Deadline: April 30. Fest seeks films by 



women, for women, or about women. Areas 
of interest can incl. culture, diversity of peo- 
ple, adventure, sports, the environment, spiri- 
tuality, inspiration, challenges, relationships & 
breaking barriers. Program will tour to ten 
college campuses during the fall. Proceeds 
from fest will benefit The Breast Cancer 
Fund to assist their efforts to promote 
awareness & education of womens' health. 
Films should be no longer than 75 min. Cats: 
short, doc, feature, student, family. Awards: 
Cash prizes. Formats: Beta, S-VHS, 1/2". 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $25 made 
payable to The Breast Cancer Fund. 
Contact: Allison Levy, c/o Clif Bar, 1610 
5th St, Berkeley, CA 94710; allison® 
aspiringheights.com; www.lunabar.com. 

MADCAT WOMEN'S INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, 

September, CA. Deadline: April 4; June 4 
(late). MadCat showcases innovative & chal- 
lenging works from around the globe. Fest 
features experimental, avant garde & inde- 
pendent works by women of all lengths & 
genres. Works can be produced ANY year. It 
is the test's goal to expand the notion of 
women's cinema beyond the limitations of 
films about traditional women's issues. 
Founded: 1996. Cats: any style or genre. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Super 8, Beta SP, 
3/4". Preview on VHS (NTSC). Entry Fee: 
$10-$30 (sliding scale, pay what you can 
afford; int'l entrants disregard entry fee). 
Contact: Ariella Ben-Dov, 639 Steiner St, 
San Francisco, CA 941 1 7; (415) 436-9523; 
fax: 934-0642; info@madcatfilmfestival.org; 
www.madcatfilmfest.ival.org. 

MAINE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, July 1 1-20, ME. 
Deadline: March 1 5 (early); April 30 (final). A 
leading New England regional film fest w/ an 
exceptional emphasis on int'l productions, 
Festival seeks features & shorts "shot in 
Maine or w/ a significant Maine focus." 
Recent fest guests & winners of MIFF's Mid- 
Life Achievement Award incl. Sissy Spacek, 
& Terrence Malick. Founded: 1 998. Cats: fea- 
ture, short, doc. Awards: Audience Award 
(Best Feature). Formats: 35mm, 3/4", Beta 
SP, 16mm, S-VHS, 1/2", Beta, DigiBeta, 
DVD. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $35; $40 
(final). Contact: MIFF, 10 Railroad Sq., 
Waterville, ME 04901; (207) 861-8138; fax: 
872-5502; info@miff.org; www.miff.org. 

MARGARET MEAD FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, 

November 7- 1 0, NY. Deadline: March 1 ; April 
5 (late). Premiere US fest for non fiction 
work, w/ no restrictions on subject, length, or 
yr. of production. Film & videomakers whose 
works are selected receive a pass to all fest 
events, limited financial assistance & hous- 
ing. After the New York Festival, select titles 



62 The Independent | April 2003 



tour to independent film & community cen- 
ters, museums & universities as part of the 
nat'l Margaret Mead Traveling Film & Video 
Festival. Founded: 1977. Cats: short, doc, ani- 
mation, experimental, student, youth media. 
Awards: no awards, some financial assis- 
tance & honorarium. Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm, 
3/4", 1/2", Beta. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
none. Contact: American Museum of Natural 
History, Dept. of Education, Central Park 
West at 79th Street, New York, NY 1 0024; 
(212) 769-5305; meadfest@amnh.org; 
www.amnh.org/mead. 

MAUI FILM FESTIVAL, June 11-15, HI. 
Deadline: March 20, April 20 (final), compas- 
sionate & life-affirming storytelling in exem- 
plary films from any & everywhere on earth. 
Founded: 1999. Cats: feature, short, anima- 
tion, experimental, children. Awards: 
Silversword Awards; Audience, Feature 
Dramatic, Short, Feature Doc. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, Beta SP, DVD. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: No entry Fee. Contact: Barry 
Rivers, PO Box 790669, Paia, HI 96779; 
(808) 579-9996 or (888) 999-6330; fax: 
579-9552; mauifilmfest@mauifilmfest.com; 
www.mauifilmfest.com. 

MILL VALLEY FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, October 
2-12, CA. Deadline: May 31 (early); June 30 
(final). Invitational, noncompetitive fest 
screens films of all genres & lengths & has 
become a premiere West Coast event, bring- 
ing new & innovative works to Northern 
California audiences. Official Premieres 
Selection highlights feature-length narrative 
& doc premieres. Seminars bring in a stellar 
line-up of filmmakers & industry profession- 
als. Filmmakers, distributors, press & large 
local audience meet in "an atmosphere 
where professional relationships thrive." 
Around 100 programs of independent works 
are shown, as well as interactive exhibits, trib- 
utes, a children's filmfest, seminars & special 
events. Entries must have been completed 
within previous 18 months; industrial, promo- 
tional or instructional works not appropriate; 
premieres & new works emphasized. Cats: 
Feature, Doc, Short, Interactive, Children, 
Animation, Experimental. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, 3/4", 1/2", Beta SP, Multimedia, DV. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $20 (early); $25 
(final). Contact: Zoe Elton, 38 Miller Avenue, 
Ste 6, Mill Valley, CA 94941; (415) 383- 
5256; fax: 383-8606; info@finc.org; 
www.mvff.com. 

NANTUCKET FILM FESTIVAL, June 19-22, MA. 
Deadline: April 1 1 (film); March 14 (screen- 
play competition). Fest focuses on screen- 
writers & their craft, presents films, staged 
readings, Q&A w/ filmmakers, panel discus- 



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April 2003 I The Independent 63 



sions & the "Morning Coffee With" series. 
Writers are encouraged to present their films 
& works-in-progress & get feedback from 
other screenwriters & filmmakers. Entry must 
not have had commercial distribution or US 
broadcast. Cats: any style or genre. Awards: 
Tony Cox Award for Screenwriting 
Competition, Best Writer/Director Award, 
Audience Awards for Best Feature & Short 
Film. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Video. Preview 
on VHS. Entry Fee: $40 (features); 
$25 (shorts, 35 min. or less); $15 (5 min 
or less). Contact: Jill Goode, 1633 
Broadway, Ste. 14-334, New York, NY 
10019; (212) 708-1278; ackfest@aol.com; 
www.nantucketfilmfest.org. 

NEW JERSEY INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, June & July, 
NJ. Deadline: April 4. Annual fest showcases 
the best in independent film & video, featur- 
ing premiere screenings of award-winning 
works, seminars, panels discussions & guest 
appearances. Max. film age is 24 months, no 
repeat entries. Founded: 1 996. Cats: anima- 
tion, short, experimental, feature, doc, any 
style or genre, children, family, youth media, 
student, music video. Awards: $3,000 in cash 
& prizes. Formats: 1 6mm, 35mm, 3/4", Beta 
SR Hi8, 1/2", S-VHS, DV. Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: $35-$65. Contact: Rutgers Film 
Co-op/NJMAC, 72 Lipman Drive, New 
Brunswick, NJ 08901 ; (732) 932-8482; fax: 
932-1935: njmac@aol.com; www.njfilmfest.com. 

NEXTFRAME: UFVA's touring festiva of inter- 
nations student film & video. Oct., PA. 
Deadline: March 31 (early); May 31 (Late). 
Fest was founded in 1 993 to survey & exhib- 
it the very best in current student film & video 
worldwide. Emphasizes independence, cre- 
ativity & new approaches to visual media. All 
entries must have been created by students 
enrolled in a college, univ., or graduate school 
at time of prod. & should have been complet- 
ed no earlier than May of previous 2 yrs. All 
works prescreened by panel of film/video- 
makers; finalists sent to judges. About 30 
works showcased each year. All works pre- 
miere at annual conference of Univ. Film & 
Video Assoc. (UFVA), in July. Year-long int'l 
tour of finalists begins after premiere. Tour 
travels to major universities & art centers 
across the US & around the globe. Past int'l 
venues have incl. Chile, Canada, Japan, 
Mexico, New Zealand & Portugal. Founded: 
1993. Cats: Doc, Experimen-tal, Animation, 
Feature. Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm, Beta SP 
(I JTSC). Preview on VHS (PAL/SECAM okay 
for preview only). Entry Fee: $25; $20 
(UFVA members & int'l entries). Early 
entries save $5. Contact: Festival, Dept. Film 
£ Media Arts, Temple University 
01 1-00, Philadelphia, PA 19122; (800) 499- 



UFVA; (215) 923-3532; nextfest@temple.edu; 
www.temple. edu/nextframe. 

PHILADELPHIA VIDEO FESTIVAL, June 6-7, PA. 
Deadline: April 1 5; April 25 (final). No film will 
be accepted; works must be shot on video or 
digital video. Founded: 2003. Cats: feature, 
doc, music video, animation, experimental, 
short. Formats: DVD, 1 /2". Preview on VHS 
or Mini-DV. Entry Fee: $25; $35. Contact: 
Festival, 5220 N. Leeward Rd, Bensalem, PA 
19020; (215) 698-2686; mike@philly 
videofest.com; www.phillyvideofest.com. 

PORTLAND WOMEN'S FILM FESTIVAL, May 29- 
June 1, OR. Deadline: March 31; April 15 
(final). Fest will showcase films & videos 
directed by women from around the US & 
beyond. Fest is open to all subject matter & 
production formats. The goal of POW! Fest is 
to provide a unique screening opportunity for 
emerging female filmmakers. Founded: 
2002. Cats: feature, short, any style or genre. 
Awards: Jury & Audience Awards. Formats: 
1 6mm, DVD, 1 /2", Super 8. Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: $25 (shorts, under 25 min.); $30 
(feature). Contact: Zonker Films, 6504 
NE 22nd Ave, Portland, OR 97211; 
POW@zonkerfilms.com; www.zonkerfilms.com. 

RHODE ISLAND INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, Aug. 5-10, 
Rl. Deadline: May 15, June 1. Fest takes place 
in historic Providence, Rl & has become a 
showcase for int'l independent filmmakers & 
their work. In previous years the fest has 
screened more than 23 world premieres & over 
1 2 US premieres. Fest programs over 1 75 films 
& provides high-end industry workshops. Fest 
accepts shorts, features & videos produced in 
last 2 years. Fest is a qualifying fest in the Short 
Film category w/ the Academy of Motion 
Picture Arts & Sciences. Founded: 1 997. Cats: 
feature, doc, short, animation, experimental, stu- 
dent, youth media, family, children. Formats: 
16mm, 35mm, Beta SP, 3/4", S-VHS, 1/2", 
DV, DVD. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $40. 
Contact: George T Marshall, Box 1 62, Newport, 
Rl 02840; (401) 861-4445; fax: 847-7590; 
flicksart@aol.com; www.filmfest.org. 

RURAL ROUTE FILM FESTIVAL, July (dates 
TBA), NY. Deadline: May 25. Festival has 
been created to highlight works that deal w/ 
rural people & places. Works that incl. alter- 
native country, country western & folk music 
are encouraged. Founded: 2002. Cats: 
feature, doc, short, animation, experimental. 
Formats: 1 6mm, 35mm, Beta, mini DV, DVD. 
preview on VHS (NTSC). Entry Fee: $15 
shorts; $35 features. Contact: Alan Webber, 
PO Box 3900, Grand Central Station, 
New York, NY 10163; (718) 389-4367; 
www.ruralroutefilms.com. 



SAN ANTONIO UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL, 

June 20-22, TX. Deadline: April 9. Looking 
for features & shorts out of the mainstream. 
Include two-sentence synopsis. Cats: any 
style or genre, doc, short, feature. Awards: 
Grand Prize: Lowrider Bicycle. Formats: VHS. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $20; $30 (late). 
Contact: Adam Rocha, 8030 Callaghan Rd. 
#61 1 PMB, San Antonio, TX 78230; (210) 
977-9004; info@safilm.com; www.safilm.com. 

SAN DIEGO ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL, October 2- 
5, CA. Deadline: April 15, May 30 (late). 
Annual competitive fest, presented by the 
Asian American Journalists Association of 
San Diego, seeks short to feature-length nar- 
ratives, docs, experimental, animation & 
mixed genre works made by or about Asian 
& Pacific Americans. Entry form avail, from 
website. Cats: feature, doc, experimental, ani- 
mation, mixed genre works, short. Awards: 
Awards incl. Best Feature, Best Short, Best 
Doc, Best Experimental, & Best Animation. 
Formats: 1 6mm, 35mm, Beta SP. Preview on 
VHS (NTSC only). Entry Fee: $1 5; $25 (late). 
Contact: Entry Coordinator, c/o Steve Lukas, 
1 0084 Kaufman Way, San Diego, CA 921 26; 
(858) 699-2722; info@sdaff.org; www.sdaff.org. 

STONY BROOK FILM FESTIVAL, July 1 6-26, NY. 
Deadline: April 1 5. Eleven days, fifty screen- 
ings of features & short films ranging from 
the best & most exciting foreign, art & popu- 
lar films to world & US premieres of the best 
independent cinema from the US & abroad. 
Cats: feature, short, doc, animation. Formats: 
35mm, 1 6mm. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$20 (shorts up to 30 min.); $40 (features 
over 30 min.) Contact: Patrick Kelly, Stellar 
Arts Center, Stony Brook University, 
Rm 2032, Stony Brook, NY 11794; (631) 
632-7234; filmfest@stonybrookfilmfest.com; 
www.stonybrookfilmfest.com. 

THE BRIDGE FILM FESTIVAL, May 17, NY. 

Deadline: April 14. Featuring films by middle 
& upper school students at Quaker schools 
worldwide. The goal of the fest is to promote 
value-based filmmaking on topics that our 
children & communities grapple w/ regularly, 
such as integrity, nonviolence, social con- 
science & political justice. The fest is not 
looking for films about Quaker philosophy 
but rather films that depict Quaker ideals in 
action. From the participating schools, finalist 
films will be chosen & will be screened & 
awards are given based on both the quality of 
filmmaking & content. Entries may be up to 
1 2 min. in length. Cats: doc, Nature, Comedy, 
Drama, Animation, music video, student, 
short. Preview on VHS (NTSC). Entry 
Fee: $25. Contact: Andy Cohen, 375 
Pearl Street, Brooklyn, NY 1 1201; (718) 



64 The Independent | April 2003 



852-1 029; acohen@brooklynfriends.org; 
www.brooklynfriends.org/bridgefilm. 

VISIONFEST, July 22-29, NY. Deadline: May 
1 5. Formally Guerilla Film & Video Festival. 
Founded: 2001. Cats: feature, doc, short, 
experimental, any style or genre; No music 
video. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta, 
DigiBeta, DV, 1/2". Preview on VHS, DVD. 
Entry Fee: $35 (shorts); $40 (features). 
Contact: Bruno Derlin, PO Box 280223, 
Brooklyn, NY 11228; (718) 837-5736; 
visionfest@aol.com; www.filmfesttoday.com. 

WOODS HOLE FILM FESTIVAL, July 26-Aug. 3, 
MA. Deadline: April 1 ; May 1 (final). A show- 
case for independent film w/ special empha- 
sis on regional filmmakers & cinematography. 
Founded: 1991. Cats: feature, doc, short, ani- 
mation, experimental, script. Awards: Best of 
the Fest, Best feature: drama, comedy, doc; 
Short: drama, comedy, animation, doc, exper- 
imental; Director's Choice Award for 
Cinematography. Formats: Beta, 16mm, 
35mm, Beta SP, DVD. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: features: $40, $50 (final); shorts (under 
40 min.): $20, $30 (final). Contact: JC 
Bouvier, PO Box 624, Woods Hole, MA 
02543; (508) 495-3456; woho3@aol.com; 
www.woodsholefilmfest.com. 

YOUNG PEOPLE'S FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, 

July, OR. Deadline: Late May. Young People's 
Film & Video Festival is an annual juried sur- 
vey of outstanding work by K-12 students 
from the Northwest (OR, WA, ID, MT, UT, 
AK). A jury reviews entries & assembles a 
program for public presentation. Judges' 
Certificates are awarded. About 20 films & 
videos are selected each year. Entries must 
have been made w/in previous 2 yrs. 
Founded: 1975. Cats: Student, any style or 
genre. Awards: Judges Certificates awarded. 
Formats: 16mm, S-8, 3/4", 1/2", Hi8, 
CD-ROM, S-VHS, Super 8, DV. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: None. Contact: Kristin 
Konsterlie, Northwest Film Center, 1 21 9 SW 
Park Ave, Portland, OR 97205; (503) 221- 
1156; fax: 294-0874; kristin@nwfilm.org; 
www.nwfilm.org. 

INTERNATIONAL 

AFRICA IN THE PICTURE, Sept. 3-14, 
Netherlands. Deadline: April 1 5. Africa in the 
picture is one of the oldest African film tests 
in Europe. Held in Amsterdam & a number of 
other cities in the Netherlands, featuring 
works from Africa & the African Diaspora. 
Founded: 1987. Cats: feature, doc, short. 
Preview on VHS PAL/NTSC. Entry Fee: 
None. Contact: Sasha Dees, Notorious Film, 
207 W. 102nd Street, #5A, New York, NY 



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www.africamthepicture.nl. 

ART film FESTIVAL. June 20-28, Slovak 
Republic. Deadline: April 5. Competitive test 
showcasing art films, both features & docu- 
mentaries. Cats: Art Fiction (art feature films, 
new technologies, docs), Artefacts (short art 
films), On the Road (student films on art, 
experimental & Doc). Cats: feature, short, stu- 
dent experimental, doc. Awards: Cash & non 
cash prizes. Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm, Beta, 
Beta SP, DigiBeta. Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: None. Contact: Vladimir Stric or 
Livia Filusova, Konventna 8, Bratislava, 
Slovakia, Slovak Republic 811 03 ; 01 1 42 
12 5441 9480; fax: 42 12 5441 1679; 
fest@artfilm.sk; www.artfilm.sk. 

AVIGNON FILM FESTIVAL-FRANCE (Rencontres 
Cinematograph iques Euro-Americaines), 
June 6-13, France. Deadline: May 1, 
Celebrates European & American independ- 
ent film w/ new films, retros, roundtables on 
pertinent issues, interviews w/ filmmakers & 
daily receptions. Accepts narrative features & 
short films as well as feature-length docu- 
mentaries in English & other European lan- 
guages. French films must be subtitled in 
English. Non-French-language films must be 
subtitled in French. Founded: 1984. Cats: 
feature, doc, short. Formats: 1 6mm, 35mm. 
Preview on VHS. Contact: Jerome Henry 
Rudes, 10, montee de la Tour, Villeneuve-les- 
Avignon, France 30400; 011 33 4 90 25 93 
23; fax: 011 33 4 90 25 93 24; 
jhr2001 @aol.com; www.avignonfilmfest.com. 

BRISBANE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, July 29-Aug. 
10, Australia. Deadline: April 8. Festival will 
showcase more than 200 films, docs, shorts, 
& animations at venues across Brisbane. 
Also adding to this year's test fever will be 
the much-anticipated announcement of the 
Chauvel Award winner. Past winners of this 
prestigious award incl. Fred Schepisi, Paul 
Cox. Gillian Armstrong, John Seale, Dr. 
George Miller & Rolf de Heer. Cats: feature, 
doc, short, animation, experimental. 
Preview on VHS. Contact: Third Floor Hoyts 
Regent, GPO Box 909, Brisbane 4001, 
Australia; 011 61 7 3007-3003; fax: 3007- 
3030; biff@biff.com.au; www.biff.com.au. 

BUDAPEST LESBIAN & GAY FILM FESTIVAL, 
June 26-29, Hungary. Deadline: May 1. Non- 
competitive test "accepts films & videos by, 
about & of interest to communities of les- 
bians, gay men & sexual minorities." Works 
should be Budapest premieres. Cats: feature, 
doc, short, experimental. Formats: 16mm, 
35mm. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: None. 
Contact: c/o Rainbow Mission Foundation, 



Bezeredi u. 5, Budapest, Hungary 1 08 1 ; 1 1 
36 1 323 1 1 2; info@szivarvany-misszio.hu; 
www.szivarvany-misszio.hu. 

INT'L FILM FESTIVAL CINEMA JOVE, June 14- 
21, Spain. Deadline: April 15. Cinema Jove 
has two cats: Official Int'l Category for 
Videocreation, Electronic Graphics & 
Computer Graphics (open to any young 
videomaker born after Jan. 1, 1965), 
& Official Natl Category for Short Fictions 
produced on video (open to those born 
or resident in the Spanish State, born after 
Jan. 1, 1969). Int'l Short Film Market takes 
place in the framework of the Cinema 
Jove fest. Founded: 1985. Cats: short, 
feature, any style or genre. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm. Preview on VHS. No entry 
fee. Contact: Rafael Maluenda, Calle 
Jeronimo de Monsoriu,19, Valencia, Spain 
46022 ; 011 34 96 331 10 47; cinema- 
jove@ivaj.gva.es; www.gva.es/cinemajove. 

INT'L FILM FESTIVAL INNSBRUK, June 18-22, 
Austria. Deadline: April 15. IFFI presents over 
films from & about Africa, South America & 
Asia. Submitted films must be Austrian pre- 
miere, w/ no screenings anywhere prior to 
May 29 of current year. Founded: 1 992. Cats: 
Feature, Doc, Short, Animation. Awards: Tyrol 
Award (5,000 E); Cine Tirol Distributor's Prize 
(3,000 E); Audience Award (1 ,000 E); French 
Cultural Institute's Francophone Award 
(1,000 E). Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Preview 
on VHS PAL. Entry Fee: none. Contact: 
Raimund Obkircher, Otto Preminger Institute, 
Museumstrasse 31, Box 704, Innsbruck, 
Austria 6020; 01 1 43 51 2 57 85 00-1 4; fax: 
57 85 00-13; info@iffi.at; www.iffi.at. 

JERUSALEM INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, July 10-19, 
Israel. Deadline: April 18. Annual fest will 
screen over 1 75 films in various cats, incl. int'l 
cinema, doc, shorts, animation, avant garde, US 
indie, Israeli & Mediterranean cinema; Jewish 
themes, restorations & classics. Must be Israeli 
premieres. Founded: 1984. Cats: feature, short, 
retro, Jewish, doc, experimental. Awards: 
Wolgin Awards for Israeli cinema, Lipper Award 
for best Israeli script, Wim van Leer Award (int'l 
competition), Mediterranean Cinema Award, 
Films on Jewish Theme Award (int'l comp.). 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: None. Contact: Lia van Leer, 
Box 8561, Derech Hebron, Jerusalem, Israel 
91083; 01 1 9722 565 4333; fax: 565 4333; 
fest@jer-cin.org.il; www.jff.org.il. 

MELBOURNE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, July 23- 
Aug. 10, Australia. Deadline: March 22 
(shorts); April 14 (features). Established in 
1952, the Melbourne Int'l Film Festival is the 
oldest established film festival in the south- 



ern hemishphere & one of Australia's oldest 
running arts events. Screened in some of 
Melbourne's most celebrated cinemas & the- 
aters, the fest comprises an eclectic mix of 
outstanding filmmaking from around the 
world. The fest is a showcase for the latest 
developments in Australian & int'l filmmaking, 
offering audiences a wide range of features 
& shorts, encompassing fiction, documen- 
taries, animation & experimental films w/ a 
program of more than 350 films from over 
40 countries. Founded: 1952. Cats: feature, 
doc, animation, experimental, student. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta SP, 
DVD. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$40 (shorts only). Contact: Brett Woodward, 
Box 2206, Fitzroy Mailing Center, 
Fitzroy, Australia 3065; 011 61 3 417 2011; 
miff@melbournefilmfest.com.au; 
www.melbournefilmfest.com.au. 

MILANO INT'L GAY & LESBIAN FILM FESTIVAL, 

May 28-June 3, Italy. Deadline: April 20. The 
largest event of public screenings of lesbian 
& gay films in Milan. Founded: 1985. Cats: 
feature, doc, short, exp. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, Beta (PAL only), U-matic (NTSC/ 
PAL), 1/2" (NTSC/PAL). Preview on VHS 
(NTSC, PAL, or SECAM). No entry fee. 
Contact: Giampaolo Marzi, C/O MBE 209, 
Via Del Torchino 12, Milano, Italy 20123; 
011 39 023 319 118; marzig@energy.it; 
www.cinemagaylesbico.com. 

REVELATION PERTH INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, June 
19-29, Australia. Deadline: April 11. 
Austrailia's major alternative film fest. Fest 
seeks to bring to Oz the best in maverick 
spirit & individual filmic style. Founded: 1 998. 
Cats: Doc only for 2001, feature, doc, short, 
animation, experimental, music video, stu- 
dent. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Betacam SP, 
Beta SP, 1/2", DVD. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $33. Contact: Richard Sowada, PO Box 
135, Sth Fremantle, WA, Australia 6162; 
01 1 61 8 9335 2991; fax: 61 8 9335 
1 589; admin@revelationfilmfest.org; 
www.revelationfilmfest.org. 

VILA DO CONDE INT'L SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, 

June 29-July 6, Portugal. Deadline: April 15. 
Annual fest accepting films under 60 min. 
produced in the previous 2 years. Founded: 
1993. Cats: Short, doc, Animation, any style 
or genre, experimental. Awards: Cash prize 
in each category (trophy & diploma). 
Other awards on nat'l competition. Formats: 
16mm, 35mm, Beta SP. Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: None. Contact: Mario Micaelo, 
Auditorio Municipal, Praca da Republica, Vila 
do Conde, Portugal 4480-715; 011 351 
252 646 516; fest@curtasmetragens.pt; 
www.curtasmetragns.pt 



66 The Independent | April 2003 



Films/Tapes 
Wanted 

By Charlie Sweitzer 

Noncommercial notices and screening 
opportunities are listed free of charge 
as space permits. Commercial notices 
are billed at classified rates. The 
Independent reserves the right to edit 
for length and makes no guarantees 
about duration of listing. Limit submis- 
sions to 60 words and indicate how 
long your information will be current 
Listings must be submitted to 
notices@aivf.org by the first of the 
month two months prior to cover date 
(e.g., May 1 for July issue). Listings do 
not constitute an endorsement by The 
Independent or AIVF. We try to be as 
current and accurate as possible, but 
nevertheless: double-check details 
before sending. 

DISTRIBUTION 

EDUCATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR SEEKS VIDEOS on 

guidance issues such as violence, drug pre- 
vention, mentoring, children's health & parent- 
ing for exclusive distribution. Our marketing 
gives unequaled results! Call Sally Germain at 
The Bureau for At-Risk Youth: (800) 99- 
YOUTHx.210. 

FANLIGHT PRODUCTIONS 20+ years as an 
industry leader! Join more than 1 00 award-win- 
ning film & video producers. Send us your new 
works on healthcare, mental health, aging, dis- 
abilities, and related issues. (800) 937-41 13; 
www.fanlight.com. 

NEW DAY FILMS seeks energetic independent 
film and videomakers with social issue docs for 
distribution to non-theatrical markets. If you 
want to maximize your profits while working 
within a remarkable community of committed 
activist filmmakers, then New Day is the perfect 
home for your film. New Day is committed to 
promoting diversity within our membership and 
within the media we represent Explore our films 
at www.newday.com, then contact Heidi 
Schmidt at (650) 347-51 23. 

TAPELIST @ DISTRIBUTION. Reach distributors, 
exhibitors, media and filmgoers on 
an exciting new distribution platform 
for independent film. For Filmmakers, 
Producer's Reps, Distributors, Festivals and 
IndieTheaters. www.tapelistcom. 



THE CINEMA GUILD, leading film/video/ 
multimedia distributor, seeks new doc, fiction, 
educational & animation programs for distribu- 
tion. Send videocassettes or discs for evaluation 
to: The Cinema Guild, 1 30 Madison Ave., 2nd fl. 
New York, NY 10016; (212) 685-6242; 
gcrowdus@cinemaguild.com; Ask for our 
Distribution Services brochure. 

YOUR POINT OF VIEW: SEEN BY MILLIONS! 

Submission deadline for the 2004 season 
is June 30, 2003! Public television's 
premiere showcase for independent, 
non-fiction film and video seeks programs 
from all perspectives to showcase in annu- 
al national PBS series. All subjects, styles 
and lengths are welcome. Unfinished films 
and videos may be eligible for completion 
funds. For guidelines and application 
visit the P.O.V. interactive website: 
www.pbs.org/pov or call 1 (800) 756- 
3300 ext. 318. 

YOUTH-PRODUCED VIDEO. Guaranteed expo- 
sure to tens of thousands, plus royalties 
to sustain your program. Only Noodle- 



tary & fiction films & videos. Films can be of any 
length, genre, or style in these categories: war, 
women filmmakers, race & identity, religion, 
Cape Cod, masculinity, or grief. Please send 
work on VHS, DVD, or mini-DV w/ filmmaker 
bio & category. Also indicate availability to 
appear w/ your work for Q&A. Send to: Rebecca 
M. Alvin, Belly Girl Films, Inc., PO Box 1727, 
Brewster, MA 02631 ; bellygirl@eartlink.net. 

CELLULOID SOCIAL CLUB is a monthly screening 
series in Vancouver featuring provocative inde- 
pendent short & feature films & videos followed 
by fun & frolic. Hosted by Ken Hegan at the 
ANZA Club, #3 West 8th Ave, Vancouver, BC. 
No minors. (604) 730-8090; www.Celluloid 
SocialClub.Com; info@alterentertainment.com. 

CINEMARENO is a nonprofit film society featur- 
ing monthly screenings showcasing independ- 
ent films & videos. Focusing on new, undistrib- 
uted works. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, Beta-SP, 
DV. Preview on VHS. Entry fee: $20. Entry form 
& guidelines available at www.cinemareno.org. 
Contact: Cinemareno, P.O. Box 5372, Reno, NV 
8951 3; cinemareno@excite.com. 



Film & Video Series 



Arizona Series 
on the Lookout 



The University of Arizona's Lesbian Looks 
Series has been programming a diverse assortment of innovative videos and 
films free and open to the public since 1 993. Their 2003 season begins this fall, 
but it's not too late to submit your own work for consideration. See listing. 



Head Network distributes videos made with 
kids. Educational videos in all sub- 
jects. Check out our distributor FAQ at 
www.aivf.org/independent and get your stu- 
dents' voices heard. (800) 639-5680. 

MICROCINEMAS • 
SCREENING 

AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE accepts entries for 
its ongoing program, the Alternative Screen. 
Looking primarily for feature films w/o wide dis- 
tribution, but also will consider shorts, animation, 
new media, etc. for other programs & showcas- 
es. Send 1/2" VHS viewing tape, press kit (any 
written background materials) & cover letter 
w/ S.A.S.E. to: Margot Gerber, The Alter- 
native Screen, 1800 N. Highland, Ste. 717, 
LA, CA 90028. (323) 466-3456 x1 15; www. 
americancinematheque.com, 

CAPE COD FILM SOCIETY SCREENING SERIES of 

Brewester, MA, seeks experimental, documen- 



DEAF & HARD OF HEARING FILM PROGRAM, host- 
ed by Film Society of Lincoln Center, seeks orig- 
inal films or videos, from 1 -20 min, to include w/ 
monthly screenings of open-captioned featured 
films at Walter Reade Theater. Films w/ artistic 
involvement from deaf artists preferred, but not 
required. Seeking original work that can be 
understood by deaf audience. Dialogue must be 
subtitled. Send 1/2" video copy (nonreturnable) 
to: The Film Society of Lincoln Center, Deaf 
& Hard of Hearing Film Program, 165 W. 
65th St, 4th fl, NY, NY 1 0023; (212) 875-5638; 
sbensman@filmlinc.com. 

DIGITAL CAFE SERIES seeks videos (shorts & 
features) ranging from social-issue docs to 
experimental video for our ongoing biweekly 
screenings. Youth-produced videos (20 min. or 
fewer) may also be entered into the Young 
Videomakers Program at the Hamptons 
Int'l Film Festival. VHS only. Send S.A.S.E. if 
you'd like your video returned. For more 
nfo, contact Emily or Maggie at (845) 



April 2003 | The Independent 67 



films/tapes wanted 



485-4480; emily@childrensmediaproject.org; 
www.childrensmediaproject.org. 

ELECTRIC EYE CINEMA of Madison, Wl, is a 
monthly venue for independent doc video fea- 
tures. All net profits from screenings redistrib- 
uted back to participating filmmakers. Looking 
for 30- to 90-min. works that are creative, witty, 
or politically conscious. Also looking for shorts 
(10 min. or fewer) to be screened at our 
(unpaid) Open Reel Hour at the beginning of 
each monthly program. Send VHS tapes, sum- 
mary of film & filmmaker bio to: Prolefeed 
Studios, Brian Standing, 3210 James St., 
Madison, Wl 5371 4; www.prolefeedstudios.com. 

EMERGING FILMMAKERS series at the Little 
Theatre in Rochester, NY, seeks work from New 
York State amateur filmmakers of all ages. 
Deadline: ongoing. Send VHS screener & cover 
letter to Karen vanMeenen, programmer, 
Emerging Filmmakers Series, Little Theatre, 
240 East Ave., Rochester, NY 1 4604. 

FUCKER encompasses a Super 8 & 16mm 
showcase held in Ashville, Athens, Chapel Hill, 
New Orleans, New York, Richmond, 
andBordeaux, France. Film grants of 
$100 to filmmakers are also offered through 
some groups. Send a short proposal to the 
Flicker nearest you. www.flickeraustin.com. 

FREEDOM FILM SOCIETY, presenter of the Red 
Bank Inf I Film Festival, seeks short (45 min. or 
fewer) & feature-length narrative, documentary, 
experimental & animated works for monthly 
screenings in NJ. Send preview on VHS 
(NTSC). Entry fee: shorts, $25; features, $45. 
Ph/fax: (732) 741-8089; contact@rbff.org; 
www.rbff.org/entry_form/submithtml. 

GIRLS ON film is a new quarterly screening series 
in San Francisco seeking short narrative, doc & 
experimental works under 30 min. by women of 
color. 1 6mm, 35mm, VHS, or Beta; preview should 
be on VHS. No entry fee. (415) 614-1770; 
girlsonfilmseries@hotmail.com. 

indie CINEMA NIGHT, presented by the Atlanta 
Urban Mediamakers Association, Inc., seeks 
short & feature-length narrative, documentary & 
child-aimed works for a monthly screening 
series. Preview on VHS, Beta SR or DVD. 
Reviews of selected works will appear in Urban 
Mediamakers magazine; audience evaluations 
solicited after every screening. No entry fee. 
(404) 287-7758: www.urbanmediamakers.com; 
aumai@urbanmediamakers.com. 

LESBIAN LOOKS in Tucson, AZ, seeks narrative, 
doc, experimental & mixed-genre work of all 
lengths for 2003 season. 16mm and VHS 
NTSC only. Fee paid for all works screened. 



Deadline: June 15. Send VHS preview 
tape, brief synopsis, artist bio & B/W still 
to Beverly Seckinger, Media Arts, Harvill 
226, University of Arizona, Tucson, 
AZ 85721; http://w3.arizona.edu/~lgbcom; 
bsecking@uarizona.edu. 

MAKOR continues its Reel Jews Film Festival & 
ongoing screening series showcasing the work 
of emerging Jewish filmmakers. Now accept- 
ing shorts, features, docs, and/or works 
in progress, regardless of theme, for 
screening consideration. Program sponsored 
by Steven Spielberg's Righteous Persons 
Foundation. Contact Ken Sherman: (212) 413- 
8821 ; ksherman@92ndsty.org. 

MICROCINEMA'S INDEPENDENT EXPOSURE 

seeks short video, film & digital media submis- 
sions of 1 5 min. or fewer on an ongoing basis 
for the monthly screening program. Artists qual- 
ify for a nonexclusive distribution deal, incl. addi- 
tional license fees for int'l offline & online sales. 
Submit nonreturnable VHS or S-VHS (NTSC 
preferred) labeled w/ name, title, length, phone 
# & any support materials, incl. photos. Contact: 
Joel S. Banchar, Microcinema International, 
531 Utah St, San Francisco, CA 94110; 
info@microcinema.com; www.microcinema.com. 

OTHER CINEMA, San Francisco's twenty-year- 
old microcinema, accepts submissions of exper- 
imental film & video, as well as personal nonac- 
tion, of any length for their weekly screening 
series. Please send a VHS tape (nonreturnable) 
to: Other Cinema, 992 Valencia Street, San 
Francisco, CA 941 1 0; www.othercinema.com. 

POTHOLE PICTURES, a revitalized theater in 
Shelburne Falls, MA, seeks 35mm films for 
"Meet the Director" series, which features a dis- 
cussion & reception following your film's 
screening. Any length/genre. Connection to 
New England helpful but not necessary. Send 
VHS preview tape to Fred DeVecca, Pothole 
Pictures, Box 368, Shelburne Falls, MA 01 370; 
frogprod@javanet.com, 

SHIFTING SANDS CINEMA is a quarterly screen- 
ing series presenting experimental video, film, 
animation & digital media. Short works (under 
20 min.) on nonreturnable VHS (NTSC) are 
sought. Incl. synopsis of work, artist bio & con- 
tract info. Deadline: ongoing. Submissions will 
become part of the Shifting Sands Archives & 
will also be considered for curated exhibitions & 
other special projects. Contact: Shifting Sands 
Cinema, c/o Jon Shumway, Art Dept, Slippery 
Rock Univ., Slippery Rock, PA 16057; (724) 
738-271 4; jon.shumway@sru.edu. 

short film GROUP seeks shorts throughout 
the year for its quarterly series of screen- 



ings in Los Angeles. The group is a 
nonprofit organization created to pro- 
mote short film as a means to itself. For 
more information & an application form, visit 
www.shortfilmgroup.org. 

SHOW & TELL is a monthly film, video & music 
event. Highlighting everything from film, 
video, music & poetry, this event provides a 
much-needed venue to show the works and 
talents in a nonconventional location. 
Seeking 15- to 20-min. film/videos. Show & 
Tell, c/o Black Robb, 535 Havemeyer Ave 
#121-1, New York, NY 10473; (718) 409- 
1 691 ; blackrobb@netzero.net 

TINY PICTURE CLUB seeks Super 8 films for 
quarterly, theme-based programs. Films 
will screen on Super 8 & be accompanied by 
live music. Tiny Picture Club is especially 
interested in work from the Portland area 
Send VHS tape to: Tiny Picture Club, 
6202 SE 17th Ave., PTX, OR 97202; 
www.tinypictureclub.org. 

VIDEOTHEATRE, New York's never-ending video 
festival, seeks original videos. All kinds. No 
deadlines. No late fees. Year-round submission. 
Weekly programming in a 99-seat, AC theater 
located in downtown Manhattan's theater row. 
Grand opening 6/03. VideoTheatreNYC@aol.com; 
www.VideoTheatreNYC.com. 

GALLERIES 

ART IN GENERAL encourages submissions for 
exhibition & residency. Works can encompass 
all media, including site-specific installation, sin- 
gle channel video, audio projects & window 
installations. Video work must be on VHS 
(NTSC). Send application (available at 
www.artingeneral.org) along with S.A.S.E. & 
materials to: Future Programs, Art in General, 
79 Walker Street, New York, NY 1 001 3; (212) 
219-0473. 

RUNNING FREE, a touring collaborative video 
installation presented by Montreal's View 72, 
seeks shorts (5 min. or fewer) of a single per- 
son running continuously. Format must be mini- 
DV, but send VHS for preview. Immaculate_ 
conception@view72.com; www.view72.com. 

UNIVERSITY ART GALLERY at Central Michigan 
University reviews proposals year-round. All 
media considered, incl. 2-D, 3-D, performance, 
video & computer art. Artists interested in exhi- 
bition at the University Art Gallery should send 
20 slides, video or disc, resume, artist statement 
& S.A.S.E to: Central Michigan University Art 
Gallery, Art Dept. Wightman 1 32, Mt Pleasant, 
Ml 48859 



68 The Independent | April 2003 



US EXPRESS seeks video art re: US culture. 
Single-channel videos dealing w/ any aspect of 
our way of life here in the USA: cultural events 
& phenomena, fashion, language, cars (or other 
fetishes), culture jamming, any sub-culture, all 
dates of production. For a funded travelling 
video exhibit. Send description ASAP: "U.S. 
Express" c/o cityhallpark@earthlink.net; IMP, Inc, 
373 Broadway NY, NY 1 00 1 3. Deadline: May 3 1 . 

SHOWCASES 

CHICAGO COMMUNITY CINEMA features the 
excitement of an annual film festival w/ a 
monthly extravaganza of a networking fest & 
movie showcase. On the first Tuesday of each 
month, short films, trailers, music videos, com- 
mercials, student films & features of all genres 
are showcased to an audience of industry pro- 
fessionals. Submission form available at web- 
site. Entry Fee: $25. Deadline: ongoing. 
Contact: Chicago Community Cinema, 1 000 N. 
Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622; (773)289- 
4261 ; www.ChicagoCommunityCinema.com. 

BROADCASTS • 
CABLECASTS 

DUTV is a progressive, nonprofit access channel 
in Philadelphia that seeks works by indie pro- 
ducers. All genres & lengths considered, Will 
return tapes. Beta SR mini-DV, S-VHS & DVD 
accepted for possible cablecast. VHS for pre- 
view. Contact: Debbie Rudman, DUTV, 3141 
Chestnut St, Bldg 9B, Rm. 4026, Philadelphia, 
PA 19104; (215) 895-2927; dutv@drexel.edu; 
www.dutv.org. 

SHORT LIST is an int'l showcase of short films 
which airs nat'lly on PBS. Licenses all genres, 
30 sec. to 25 mins. Produced in association 
with Kodak Worldwide Independent Emerging 
Filmmakers Program & Cox Channel 4. Awards 
5 Kodak product grants annually. Submit on 
VHS. Appl. form avail, on www.theshortlist.cc; 
ShortList@mail.sdsu.edu. 

THEXPATCAFE TELEVISION SHOW is a screening 
venue for short independent film/video/new 
media produced artists, accepting submissions 
for the 2003 season. Work must be under 20 
min. in length. Mini-DV & SVHS only. Submission 
form is available at www.thexpatcafe.com. 

WEBCASTS 

WIGGED.NET is a digital magazine showcase, 
distributor & promotion center for media artists 
via the internet. Seeks works created in Flash & 
Director as well as traditional animations & 
videos under 1 min. to be streamed over the 
internet. For details, visit the "submit media" 
page at www.wigged.net Deadline: ongoing. 




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April 2003 | The Independent 69 



Notices 

By Charlie Sweitzer 

Noncommercial notices are listed 
free of charge as space permits. The 
Independent reserves the right to 
edit for length and makes no guaran- 
tees about duration of listing. Limit 
submissions to 60 words and indi- 
cate how long your information will 
be current. Listings must be submit- 
ted to notices@aivf.org by the first of 
the month two months prior to cover 
date (e.g., May 1 for July issue). 
Remember to give us complete con- 
tact info (name, address, and phone 
number). Listings do not constitute 
an endorsement by The Independent 
or AIVF. We try to be as current and 
accurate as possible, but neverthe- 
less: double-check details before 
sending anyone anything. 

COMPETITIONS 

CYNOSURE SCREENWRITING AWARDS seeks 
feature screenplays w/ female protagonists & 
scripts w/ minority protagonists. Works must 
not have been previous-ly optioned, purchased, 
or produced & must be registered w/ the WGA 
or US copyright office. One $2,000 award 
issued in each category. Entry fee: $45 (post- 
marked by April 5); $50 (postmarked by May 3). 
(310) 855-8730; www.BroadMindEnt.com; 
cynosure@BroadMindEntcom. 

SCRIPTAPALOOZA 5TH ANNUAL SCREEN 
writing competition awards a 1st prize of 
$10,000 & screenwriting software for 3 win- 
ners & 10 runners-up. All winners will be con- 
sidered by Scriptapalooza's 40 participants 
which include A Band Apart, Samuel Goldwyn 
Films, Film Colony, Evolution, Phoenix Pictures 
& many more. Deadline: March 3 (entry 
fee $45); late deadline: April 15 ($50). 
www.scriptapaloozacom; (323) 654-5809. 

SHORT FILM SLAM, NYC's only weekly short film 
competition, seeks submissions. Competition 
on Sundays at 2 p.m. Audience votes for a win- 
ning film, which receives further screenings at 
the Pioneer Theater. To enter, must have a film, 
30 min. or fewer, in 35mm, 16mm, BetaSR 
VHS, or DVD. To submit, stop by the Pioneer 
Theater (1 55 E 3rd St) or call Jim: (212) 254- 
71 07: jim@twoboots.com; www.twoboots.com. 

CONFERENCES* 
WORKSHOPS 

THE DIGITAL ART IN PUBLIC SPACE CONFERENCE, 
the first national conference on digital & inter- 



active public art, will be held at Boston 
University, April 26 & 27, during 
the Boston Cyberarts Festival. This con- 
ference, conceived in combination w/ Boston 
University & Harvard University, will focus 
on art, technology & the expanding mean- 
ing of public space in the 21st century. 
An "emerging leadership" preconference 
includes a panel, www.bostoncyberarts.org. 

THE49TH ROBERT FLAHERTY SEMINAR will be 
presented by International Film Seminars June 
14-20 at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY. 
The seminar brings together an assortment of 
doc, experimental & hybrid approaches to 
examine a variety of ways contemporary film- 
makers have grappled w/ cinema's abilities & 
frailties in relation to the concept of 
social responsibility & political struggle. Limitied 
space available. Limited financial aid available; 
deadline for aid is April 4. International 
Film Seminars, 198 Broadway, Rm 1206, 
New York, NY 10038; (212) 608-3224; 
ifs@flahertyseminar.org;www.flahertyseminar.org. 

INTERNATIONAL FILM WORKSHOPS offer 150 
summer workshops from March to October, as 



ed imagery. Real-time projects that illustrated 
the process of creating the work through nar- 
rated explanations or other informational 
devices are encouraged. Works in progress 
accepted if at least 80% complete. Preview on 
VHS(NTSC) or Beta SR No entry fee. Deadline: 
March 1 2. (310) 31 4-2800; www.siggraph.org. 

WOMAN MAKE MOVIES SPRING WORKSHOP 
SERIES has begun & will run through June. 
Upcoming workshops include Finishing Funds 
(April 8) & Foundation Funders (April 24). Both 
are from 6:30-8:30 P.M. & held in the WMM 
offices in Manhattan. $100 registration ($80 
for WMM Makers & Friends of WMM) covers 
both April workshops. For more info, visit 
www.wmm.com/assist/currentschedule.htm, or 
call (21 2) 925-0606x302. 

RESOURCES * FUNDS 

DIY REVOLUTION is now accepting free list- 
ings/classifieds. DIYR is a resource aimed to 
unite independent filmmakers, artists, activists, 
musicians, media groups & writers working for a 
more just, authentic & progressive world. Visit 
DIYR at www.diyrevolution.com or www.diyr.com. 



Lewis & Clark at Two Hundred 

If Mason and Dixon get both a geographical boundary and 
an entire Thomas Pynchon novel dedicated to them, these 
guys deserve something, too. This year marks the two hun- 
dredth anniversary of Lewis and Clark's expedition across 
the wilds of North America. The Montana Committee for the 
Humanities is looking for a few good projects which deal with the Lewis and 
Clark expedition and its consequences in interesting ways. See listing. 



well as 4-week summer film school & many 
other programs in Oxaca, Mexico, Seville, Spain, 
and Rockport, MA. For more info, visit 
www.FilmWorkshops.com, or call for their cata- 
log toll-free: (877) 577-7700; internationally, 
(207)236-8581. 

MANHATTAN NEIGHBORHOOD NETWORK, 

Manhattan's public access TV center, now 
offers an ongoing free public monthly seminars 
on film & TV production. Each month's work- 
shop is held at MNN's studios at 537 W 59th 
St & features a different speaker, screening & 
focus; past speakers have included Sharon 
Greytak, Joel Katz & Sam Pollard. (212) 757- 
2670 x308; www.mnn.org. 

SIGGRAPH held July 27-31 in San Diego, CA 
includes a Computer Animation Festival 
that seeks animations of all lengths & 
subjects which incorporate computer-generat- 



FORD FOUNDATION MEDIA, ARTS & CULTURE 
GRANTS fund independent film, video, radio & 
digital media that meets the foundations goals 
to strengthen democratic values, reduce povety 
& injustice, promote int'l cooperation & 
advancehumanachievement For more info, visit 
www.fordfound.org/about/guideline.cfm; 
office-secretary@fordfound.org. 

HARBURG FOUNDATION seeks letters of inquiry 
for possible future funding for controversial, 
risky or innovative projects that use communi- 
cation systems (radio, computer, television, the- 
ater, doc film, books) to educate & inform about 
serious issues. Preference given to new works. 
Contact Ernie Harburg. (212) 343-9453; 
ernie@harburgfoundation.org. 

JEROME FOUNDATION'S MEDIA ARTS PROGRAM 

offers production grants ranging from $10,000 
to $30,000 to emerging NYC artists w/ works 



70 The Independent | April 2003 



budgeted up to $200,000. Narratives, docs, 
new media & experimental works, as well as 
radio, interactive formats, online programs & vir- 
tual reality experiments considered. The 
Foundation does not support education, exhibi- 
tion, broadcast, or distribution. Contact Robert 
Byrd, (651) 224-9431 (or toll-free in NY or MN 
only, (800) 995-3766); www.jeromefdn.org. 

JOHND. &CATHERINET. MACARTHUR FOUNDA- 
TION provides partial support to selected doc 
series & films intended for nat'l or int'l broadcast 
& focusing on an issue in one of the founda- 
tion's 2 major programs (human & community 
development; global security & sustainability). 
Send prelim. 2- to 3-pg letter. Contact John D. 
& Catherine I MacArthur Foundation, 1 40 S. 
Dearborn St, Ste. 1 100, Chicago, IL 60603; 
(312) 726-8000; 4answers@macfdn.org; 
www.macfdn.org. 

LOCAL INDEPENDENTS COLLABORATING WITH 
STATIONS (LINCS) FUND is a funding initiative 
from Independent Television Service (ITVS) that 
provides matching funds ($ 1 0,000-$75,000) 
for collaborations between public TV stations & 
indie producers. Single shows & interstitial pkgs 
will be considered, as are projects in any genre 
or stage of development Programs should 
stimulate civic discourse & break traditional 
molds of exploring regional, cultural, political, 
social, or economic issues. Indie film & video- 
makers are encouraged to seek collaborations 
w/ their local public TV stations. Deadline: April 
30. For more info, visit www.itvs.org, or call 
Elizabeth Meyer, (415) 365-8383 x270; 
elizabeth_meyer@itvs.org. 

MONTANA COMMITTEE FOR THE HUMANITIES 

seeks projects illuminating the Lewis & Clark 
expedition & its historical consequences in 
honor of this year's 200th anniversary of the 
expedition. MCH especially encourages proj- 
ects that address contemporary issues & topics 
arising from the Lewis & Clark expedition & 
projects that employ new technologies in 
reaching the wider public. MCH also still 
seeks humanities-based projects that don't 
deal w/ Lewis & Clark. For more info: 
www.umt.edu/lastbest/default.htm. 

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES 

offers consultation grants which provide up to 
$10,000 to support the earliest stages of 
developing a project. Grants enable the director 
to consult w/ humanities scholars & media pro- 
fessionals who can help define key humanities 
themes, incorporate significant scholarship 
& shape the goals & design of the 
project. Deadline: April 7. Contact: Division of 
Public Programs, National Endowment for the 
Humanities, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, 
Washington, DC 20506; (202) 606-8269; 



www.neh.gov/grants/guidelines/media.html; 
publicpgms@neh.gov. 

OPPENHEIMER CAMERA provides new filmmak- 
ers w/ access to a fully accessorized Arri 1 6SR 
camera package, along w/ instruction & techni- 
cal support. Students, media arts center mem- 
bers & unaffiliated independents are encour- 
aged to apply. Commercial projects, music 
videos & PSAs not considered. Feature-length 
works discouraged. No appl. deadline, but allow 
2 weeks minimum for processing. Tel.: (206) 467- 
8666; filmgrant@oppenheimercamera.com; 
www.oppenheimercamera.com. 

PACIFIC ISLANDERS IN COMMUNICATIONS (PIC) 
COMPLETION FUNDS are provided for the final 
preparations of broadcast masters of Pacific 
Island-themed programs intended for nat'l pub- 
lic television. Categories: doc, performance, chil- 
dren's & cultural affairs programming. PIC is 
particularly interested in projects that examine 
Pacific Islander issues. Rough cut must be sub- 
mitted w/ appl. Awards range from $20,000 to 
$30,000. Appl. fee: $25. Deadline: ongoing. 
Contact: Annie Moriyasu, Media Fund, 
PIC, 1221 Kapi'olani Blvd, Ste. 6A-4, 
Honolulu, HI 96814; (808) 591-0059; 
amoriyasu@piccom.org; www.piccom.org. 

PAUL ROBESON FUND FOR INDEPENDENT 
MEDIA solicits projects addressing critical social 
& political issues w/ goal of creating social 
change. Funding for radio projects in all stages 
of production; film & video projects in prepro- 
duction or distribution stages only. Grants range 
from $3,000-$8,000. Deadline: May 15. 
Contact: Trinh Duong, The Funding Exchange, 
666 Broadway, #500, NY, NY 10012; (212) 
529-5300. 

SUNDANCE DOCUMENTARY FUND, formerly the 
Soros Documentary Fund, supports int'l doc 
films & videos on current & significant issues in 
human rights, freedom of expression, social jus- 
tice & civil liberties. Development funds for 
research & preproduction awarded up to 
$15,000; works- n progress funds for produc- 
tion or postproduction up to $50,000 (average 
award is $25,000). www.sundance.org. 

WALLACE ALEXANDER GERBODE FOUNDATION 

supports programs and projects offering poten- 
tial for significant impact w/ a primary focus on 
the SF Bay area & Hawaii. Categories of inter- 
est include: arts & culture, environment, polution, 
reproductive rights & citizen participation/com- 
munity building. Projects must have nonprofit 
status/fiscal sponsorship. Send cover letter 
& synopsis to: Thomas C. Layton, 
Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, 470 
Columbus Ave, #209, San Francisco, CA 
94133; (415) 391-0911. 



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Classifieds 



Deadline: First of each month, two 
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851 9; classifieds@aivf.org. 

PER ISSUE COST: 0-240 characters 
(incl. spaces & punctuation): $45 for 
nonmembers/$30 for AIVF members; 
241-360 chars: $65/$45; 361-480 
chars: $80/$60; 481-600 chars: 
$95/$75; over 600 characters: Call for 
quote, (21 2) 807-1 400, x241 . 

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issue for ads running 5+ times. 

Ads exceding the specified length will 
be edited. Place ad via www.aivf.org/ 
independent/classifieds or type copy 
and mail with the check or money order 
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York, NY 1 001 3. Include billing address, 
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2638; iobrien@bellatlantic.net 

COMPOSER: Perfect music for your project. 
Orchestral to techno— you name it! Credits 
incl. NFL, PBS, Travel Channel, Sundance, 
Hamptons and many others. Bach, of Music, 
Eastman School. Quentin Chiappetta (718) 
782-4535; medianoise@excite.com. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ Aaton Super 
16/1 6mm and Arri 35BL-2 camera pkgs. 
Expert Lighting & Camerawork for independ- 
ent films. Create that "big film" look on a low 
budget. Great prices. Matthew (617) 244- 
6730; (845) 439-5459; mwdp@att.net 

DP WITH FILM, VIDEO & LIGHTING/GRIP PACK- 
AGES. Extensive documentary & independent 
project experience. Well-traveled, multi- 
lingual and experience field producing 
as well. Call Jerry for reel/rates: (718) 398- 
6688 or email jryrisius@aol.com. 

EDITOR: FINAL CUT PRO BETA SP & DV, editor 
with private suite. Wide range of experience: 
narrative, music videos, documentaries, 
industrials & promos. Reel available, afforable 
prices. East Village location. Call (917) 523- 
6260, or check www.HighNoonProd.com. 

GRANTWRITING/FUNDRAISING: Research, 
writing & strategy (for production, distribu- 
tion, exhibition & educational projects 
of media). Successful proposals to NYSCA, 
NEA, NEH, ITVS, Soros, Rockefeller, 



72 The Independent | April 2003 



Lila Acheson Wallace Foundation. Fast 
writers, reasonable rates. Wanda Bershen, 
(212) 598-0224; www.reddiaper.com; 
or Geri Thomas (212) 779-7059; 
www.artstafting.com. 

INDEPENDENT PICTURES: experienced Line 
Producer available to help with your Detailed 
Budget, Script Breakdown, Shooting 
Schedule, and/or Day-out-of-Days. Specialty 
is low budget but high quality. Email 
Annettalm@aol.com for rates and references. 

LOCATION SOUND: Over 20 yrs sound 
exp. w/ timecode Nagra & DAT, quality 
mics. Reduced rates for low- 
budget projects. Harvey & Fred Edwards, 
(518) 677-5720; edfilms@worldnet.att.net; 
www.edwardsfilms.com. 

RICHARD CHISOLM, Documentary DP; 
National EMMY winner; International experi- 
ence; Personal style; Hand-held expertise. 
(410) 467-2997. www.richardchisolm.com. 

STORYBOARD ARTIST: With independent film 
experience. Loves boarding action 
sequences and complicated shots. Save 
money by having shots worked out before 
cameras roll. Call Kathryn Roake. (718) 
788-2755. 

OPPORTUNITIES * GIGS 

50 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR VIDEO 
BUSINESS. FREE REPORT. Grow a success- 
ful video business in Legal, 
Wedding, Corporate, TV and more. 
http://videouniversity.com/50web.htm. 

DP/COLLABORATOR w/complete video pack- 
age for documentary. Producer seeking 
experienced DP in metro NY area to partici- 
pate in creative development of project. 
Contact slaiges@aol.com. 

FIELD PRODUCERS SOUGHT for broadcast 
and non-broadcast series on health care 
beginning in 2003. Must have broadcast 
experience. Health care experience a plus. 
Send resumes and reels to Crosskeys Media, 
2060 Alameda Padre Serra, Santa Barbara, 
CA93103. 

MEDIA LAB TECHNICAL ASSISTANT. Provide 
part-time technical support for one of the 
most extensive private high school 
film/video programs in the U.S., including 3 
levels of film/video production, documen- 
tary, film history and screenwriting. Work 
with Emmy Award-winning writer-producer, 
as well as resident professional theater 
directors, designers and choreographers. 



The qualified candidate must have techni- 
cal expertise in film and video production 
and post-production (analog and digital), 
including Super 8, 16mm, SVHS, DV, audio 
recording and mixing, and non-linear video 
editing systems (Final Cut Pro and Avid 
Xpress DV). Ideal position for recent film 
school graduate or free-lance professional 
who likes working with bright, motivated 
high school kids. Begins August 15, 2003 
and runs through June 15, 2004, two 
weeks off during Winter and Spring breaks. 
Est. hours per week: 20 (flexible depending 
on class schedule) Compensation: 



how your film can generate revenues is as 
important as the script. Former distribution 
exec (NL, Warner, Fox) w/MBA can develop 
plan to present your film to investors. (510) 
528-2009 info@SharpAngle.com. 

SCREENWRITER FOR HIRE. For Low Budget 
Independents, The Write Deal. I can develop 
your idea into a script ready for production. 
(805) 641-1651, www.thewritedeal.com, 
thewritedeal@email.com. 

SU-CITY PICTURES clients win awards & get 
deals! Susan Kouguell, Tufts instructor, 



"I will always keep my classified ad running 
in The Independent*. I get calls from serious, 
professional filmmakers from all over. I've gotten 
a number of gigs as a result of the ad, not the 
least of which was Lost In La Mancha, an inde- 
pendent doc about Terry Gilliam which has been 
theatrically released in Europe and the US to rave 
reviews. Thanks!" 



-Miriam Cutler, film composer, www.miriamcutler.com 



$15,000 with benefits package. Free hous- 
ing and meals possible in exchange for res- 
ident faculty responsibilities. Please submit 
resume and cover letter detailing your 
film/video experience to marc_fields@con- 
cordacademy.org or mail to: Marc Fields, 
Concord Academy,166 Main Street, 
Concord, MA 01742. 

WELL-ESTABLISHED FREELANCE CAMERA 
GROUP in NYC seeking professional camera- 
men and soundmen w/ solid Betacam video 
experience to work w/ our wide array of 
clients. If qualified contact COA at (212) 
505-191 1. Must have video samples/reel. 

PREPRODUCTION 

BUDGETS/INVESTOR PACKAGE: Experienced 
Line Producer will prepare script break- 
downs, shooting schedules & detailed 
budgets. Movie Magic equipped. Credit cards 
accepted. Indie rates. Mark (212) 340-1 243 
or LineProducerNYC@aol.com. 

MOVIE PLAN SOFTWARE: Film Investment 
Memorandum Maker. Create document 
for selling your film project to potential 
investors. PC/MAC Electronic Template. 
Only $24.99. Download sample at 
www.movieplan.net. 

NEED INVESTORS? Business plan showing 



author The Savvy Screenwriter analyzes: 
scripts/films/treatments/queries/syn- 
opses/pitches. Over 1 ,000 clients worldwide 
inch Miramax, Warner Bros, Fine Line. 
Rewrites available. (212) 219-9224; 
www.su-city-pictures.com. 

POSTPRODUCTION 

AUDIO POST PRODUCTION: Full service audio 
post-production services for the independent 
filmmaker. Mix-to-pic, ADR, voice-over, sound 
design and editing. Pro Tools 5.1 environ- 
ment. Contact Andrew: (718) 349-7037; 
brooksy647@aol.com. 

AVID EDITOR: Over 25 feature films. Also 
Trailers, Docs, TV, Reels. Fully equipped 
Tribeca AVID suite, FCP, DVD. Pro-tools edit- 
ing & mixing. Very fast & easy to get along 
with. Credit cards accepted. Drina (212) 
561-0829. DrinaL@aol.com. 

BE A FINAL CUT PRO EDITOR: Learn from a 
professional editor & experienced teacher. 
Affordable: small classes and private tutori- 
als, hands-on training. Call (917) 523-6260 
or check www.HighNoonProd.com. 
BRODSKY & TREADWAY: Film-to-tape masters. 
Reversal only. Regular 8mm, Super 8, or 
archival 16mm. We love early B&W & 
Kodachrome. Scene-by-scene only. Correct 
frame rates. For appt. call (978) 948-7985. 



April 2003 | The Independent 73 



classifieds 



Statement of Ownership 
Management and Circulation 
(Required bj J9 l S.C. 3685) 

I Title ot PuNh.-.ition: 77k' h\k •pendent Film & \ idet > Mt utility. 

2. Publication number 011-708. 

3 Filing date 11-20-2002 

-; Issue frequency MomhU (except combined issues 

J.uui.in. Februan. and Jul> August). 

5 Number of issues published annually : 10. 

6. \nnual subscription pnee: $55 individual; $35/student; 
5100 nonprofit & school: SI 50 business & industry. 

7. Complete mailing address of know n office of publica- 
tion. 304 Hudson St.. 6th fl.. New York. NY 10013-1015. 
Contact person: James Ellis, telephone: (212) 807-1400 
x229. 

8. Complete mailing address of headquarters or general 
business office of publisher: 304 Hudson St.. 6th fl.. New 
York. NY 10013-1015. 

9. Full names and complete mailing addresses of the pub- 
lisher, editor, and managing editor: Publisher: Elizabeth 
Peters. AIVF/F1YF. 304 Hudson St.. 6th fl.. New York. 
NY 10013-1015. Editor: Maud Kersnowski. AIVF/FIVF, 
304 Hudson St.. 6th fl., New York. NY 10013-1015. 
Managing Editor: James Ellis, AIVF/ FIVF. 304 Hudson 
St.. 6th fT.. New York. NY 10013-1015. 

10. Owner: The Foundation for Independent Video and 
Film (FIVF). 304 Hudson St., 6th fl.. New York. NY 
10013-1015. (FIVF is a nonprofit organization.) 

1 1 . Known bondholders, mortgagees, and other security 
holders owning or holding 1 percent or more of total 
amount of bonds, mortgages, or other securities: None. 

12. Tax status: The purpose, function, and nonprofit status 
of this 501(c)(3) organization and the exempt status for 
federal income tax purposes has not changed during the 
preceding 12 months. 

1 3. Publication title: Ttie Independent Film & Video Monthly. 

14. Issue date for circulation data below: Nov. 2002. 

15. Extent and nature of circulation: a. Total No. Copies 

I «e; press run): Average no. copies each issue during pre- 
ceding 12 months: 12.147; actual no. copies of single 
issue published nearest to filing date: 1 1 ,820. b. Paid 
and/or requested circulation: (1) Paid/requested outside - 
county mail subscriptions stated on Form 3541: Average 
no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 4.692; 
no. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 
4.742: (2) Paid in-county subscriptions stated on Form 
3541: N/A: (3) Sales through dealers, carriers, street ven- 
dors, counter sales & other non-USPS paid distribution: 
Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 
months: 5.004: no. copies of single issue published nearest 
to filing date: 4 .578: (4) Other classes mailed through the 
USPS: N/A. c. Total paid and/or requested circulation: 
Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 
months: 9.696; no. copies of single issue published nearest 
to filing date: 9 J20. d. Free distribution by mail: Average 
no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 123; 
no. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 
165. e. Free distribution outside the mail (carriers or other 
means): Average no. copies each issue during preceding 
1 2 months: 1 .658; no. copies of single issue published 
nearest to filing date: 1 .500. f. Total free distribution: 
Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 
months: 1 .78 1 : no. copies of single issue publ ished nearest 
to filing date: 1 .665. g. Total distribution: Average no. 
copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 1 1 .478; no. 
copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 
10.985. h. Copies not distributed: Average no. copies each 
issue during preceding 1 2 months: 670; no. copies of sin- 
gle issue published nearest to filing date: 835. i. Total: 
'sum of 15 g. htl ) and h(2) Average no. copies each issue 
during preceding 12 months: 12.142; no. copies of single 
issue published nearest to filing date. 1 1 .820. j. Percent 
paid and/or requested circulation: Average no. copies each 
issue during preceding 12 months: 84.47%; actual no. 
copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 
84.84%. 

16. Publication of Statement of Ownership: Publication 
required. Will be published in the April 2003 issue of this 
publication 

17. 1 certify that all information furnished on this form is 
true and complete. 

i Signed) 

lames Ellis. Managing Editor 20th November. 2002. 



Need an audience? 

Here is a tool to help: 

The AIVF Him and Video 
EXHIBITORS GUIDE 

edited by Kathryn Bowser, 
updated by Rania Richardson 

New Edition Just Released! 




$35 / $25 AIVF members 

The newly updated guide hosts a 

bounty of current, comprehensive, 

easy-to-use information. 

New content includes: 

300-plus updated listings, with . . . 

• technical facilities that include 

digital formats 

• helpful tips for submitting 

work to venues 

• details on various exhibitor's 

programming focus 

. . . plus addional screening venues 
from theatrical to microcinema. 

The Exhibitors Guide is the most 

comprehensive resource for getting your 

work into public spaces. It has current 

information on over 1,000 exhibition venues 

in the US, from coffeehouses to corporate 

multiplexes. Venue profiles, technical 

specifications, and contact information 

provide a leg up towards the daunting 

task of bringing your work to the public. 



Order online at 
www.aivf.org, or call 
(212)807-1400x303. 



eMediaLoft.org FINAL CUT PRO G-4 digital video 
with editor $65/hr; Discounts; Production; 
S/8 & R/8 film transfers; 
VHS, Hi-8, CD-Rom, DVD, mini-DV, DV- 
Cam; Photos, Graphics, Labels. West 
Village. Bill Creston (212) 924-4893 
eMediaLoft@lycos.com. 

FINAL CUT PRO INSTRUCTOR. Editor & author 
of best-selling manual "Final Cut Pro and the 
Art of Filmmaking" available for one-on-one 
tutoring sessions in New York City. Good 
rates, beginners welcome. Contact David, 
belmondo@mindspring.com. 

FLAT RATE SOUND: Edit/Design/Mix: Protools 
HD, 5.1, M&E. AVID & FCP equipped. 
Downtown Location 10 Years Experience. 
Dozens of Features. Shorts, TV, Docs, 
Trailers, Spots. Credit Cards OK. Frank, Mark 
(2 1 2) 340-4770. SoundDesignMix@aol.com. 

INDEPENDENT FILMMAKERS: Is 75% of your 
budget going towards camera equipment, 
film stock and lab costs? Shoot your project 
on video and haveyour final production 
transferred to 35mm film inexpensively! EFX 
One is a fully integrated digital post pro- 
duction facility serving the independent 
film industry. Call (800) 398-0206 or visit 
www.efxone.com today! 

PRODUCTION TRANSCRIPTS: Verbatim tran- 
scripts for documentaries, journalists, etc. 
Low prices & flat rates based on tape length. 
Standard 1 hr., 1-on-1 interview is only 
www.productiontranscripts.com for details or 
call: (888) 349-3022 



AIVF members can 
search all benefits, 

classifieds, and 
notices listings with 

the AIVF 
interactive resource 

directory at 
ww.aivf.org/listings 



74 The Independent | April 2003 



Unless noted, AIVF programs take place 
at our offices (see below). RSVP is 
required for all AIVF events: call 
(21 2) 807-1 400 x301 or www.aivf.org. 

MASTER CLASS: 

SUSTAINING YOUR VISION: 
A DISCUSSION IN THREE PARTS 

Sustaining Your Vision provides an 
opportunity to learn from accom- 
plished feature film producers, direc- 
tors, and distributors through a series 
of candid conversations. The Master 
Class Series examines how filmmakers 
have maintained their independent 
vision throughout the production 
process, and have been able to present 
their work to their intended audiences. 

Three case studies will inform pro- 
ducers of ways to maintain creative 
vision through technique, craft, and a 
little business savvy. Find out how 
successful filmmakers got their films 
made and ultimately seen. 

All program details, including dates, 
are subject to change. Please see 
www.aivf.org for updated information. 

I. Scripting 

Saturday, April 26: Thirteen 

Director Catherine Hardwicke discuss- 
es the screenwriter as creative entrepre- 
neur in a case study of Thirteen 
(Dramatic Directing Award, Sundance 
2003). Learn how Hardwicke called 
upon her 15 years' experience as a 
production designer to maintain her 
creative vision in her feature debut. 

II. Shooting 

Saturday, May 3: The Station Agent 

Producer Mary Jane Skalski breaks 
down the process shooting The Station 
Agent (Dramatic Audience Award, 
Screenwriting Award, Jury Prize for 
Outstanding Performance, Sundance 



2003), demonstrating how the team 
made the film they envisioned within 
the budget they had to work with. 

HI. Sharing 

Saturday, May 31: Raising Victor Vargas 

IDP Films' RJ. Millard and producer 
Scott Macauley break down the market- 
ing-and-release strategy for Peter 
Sollett's dramatic debut, Raising Victor 
Vargas (Cannes, Sundance, Toronto FF). 

AIVF COSPONSORS: 
ASPEN SHORTFEST 

when: April 2-6 
www.aspenfilm.org 

One of North America's preeminent 
short film competitions, this eleven- 
year-old festival showcases the most 
innovative and vibrant voice on the 
cinematic landscape, the short film. 
Competing for significant cash prizes, 
animated, live action and documen- 
tary award winners may also qualify 
for Academy Award consideration. 
Enthusiastic audiences, young film 
artists, and special guests from 
around the globe gather to participate 
in public screenings, panels, work- 
shops, and other festivities celebrating 
the art and craft of short filmmaking. 





Meet and Greet: P.O.V. 

when: April 3, 6:30-8:30 

where: AIVF 

cost: $10 members/$20 general 

P.O.V. is public television's annual 
award-winning showcase for inde- 
pendent nonfiction films. P.O.V. 
works with selected filmmakers to 



craft a strategic broadcast plan which 
includes a national press campaign, 
outreach activities through PTV sta- 
tions, a stand-alone web site and other 
materials and services geared to pro- 
viding the most effective springboard 
for the film possible. Join P.O.V. repre- 
sentatives Chris White, director of 
production, and Yance Ford, coordi- 
nating producer, to learn more about 
P.O.V. programming. 

Meet and Greet: 

FESTIVAL 

PROGRAMMERS 

when: April 15, 6:30-8:30 

where: AIVF 

cost: $10 members/$20 general 

Just what goes on in the minds of fes- 
tival programmers as they review 



reach AIVF... 

Filmmakers' Resource Library 
hours: Wednesday 11-9 
or by apt. to AIVF members 
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 11-6. 

The AIVF office is located at 
304 Hudson St. (between Spring & 
Vandam) 6th fl., in New York City. 
(Subways: 1 or 9 to Houston, 
C or E to Spring.) 

Our Filmmakers' Resource Library 
houses hundreds of print and 
electronic resources, from essential 
directories & trade magazines to 
sample proposals & budgets. 

By phone: (212)807-1400 
Recorded information available 
24/7; operator on duty 
Tuesday-Friday 2-5 p.m. EST 



By internet: 

www.aivf.org; info@aivf.org 



April 2003 | The Independent 75 



countless festival entries? Now is your 
rime ro ask! AIYF invites you to join a 
panel of festival programmers and 
consultants to discuss the in and outs 
of festival selection. Panelists include 
Daryl Chin (Asian American Inter- 
national FF), Bob Hawk (ICI), Marian 
Masone (Film Society of Lincoln 
Center), and Nancy Schafer (Tribeca 
F, SXSW) 



FILM 



AIVF PROGRAM 
COSPONSORS: 



SAN FRANCISCO 
■U INTERNATIONAL 
FILM FESTIVAL 

when: April 17-May 1 
www.sfiff.org/festival 

Known for bringing its audience a full 
showcase of World Cinema, the San 
Francisco International Film Festival 
is presented each spring by the San 
Francisco Film Society. Now in its 
46 th year, the Festival is dedicated to 
highlighting current trends in inter- 
national film and video production. 
This year's festival will showcase 
approximately 200 new features, doc- 
umentaries and shorts. 

IN BRIEF: 

FINANCING: 
CABLE TELEVISION 

when: Thursday, 
April 24, 6:30-8:30 
where: AIVF 
cost: S20 members/$30 general 

The AIVF Producers' Legal Series 
helps answer legal and business ques- 
tions about structuring and negotiat- 
ing deals in film and television. It also 
introduces independents to future 
legal and business resources. 

This session addresses the issues 
of putting your film or program on 
cable television and the different 
financing options including: pro- 
grams fully financed by cable; co- 
production arrangements; and 
acquisitions of independently pro- 
duced programming. 




Series moderator Innes Smolansky 
is an entertainment attorney with 
Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & 
Sheppard. She specializes in repre- 
senting independent production 
companies, writers, and directors in 
independent film and television 
projects, including international co- 
productions. 

41 AlSSslls AIVF COSPONSORS: 
MUSEUM OF TELEVISION & RADIO 
TELEVISION DOCUMENTARY 
FESTIVAL 

when: April 22-May 2 
where: 25 West 52 St., NYC 
cost: (per program) $8 AIVF/MTR 
members; $10 general 
www.mtr.org 

Each year hundreds of documentaries 
are produced specifically for televi- 
sion, but many of them are seen only 
once. To give the public a chance to 
see quality documentaries (this rime 
on a large screen) and to celebrate the 
work of important documentary mak- 
ers, The Museum of Television & 
Radio is hosting its annual Festival 
that showcases the outstanding docu- 
mentaries of the past year. The two- 
week event will consist of a mix of 
documentaries that have already aired 
and premieres of unaired programs. 

In addition, a sidebar of six to eight 
programs will highlight the work of a 
prominent documentarian, specific 
genre, or series. 

AIVF COSPONSORS: 
SPECIAL PREVIEW 
"VISION ES: LATINO ART 
AND CULTURE" 

when: Friday, May 2 at 6:30 p.m. 
where: MT&R (see above) 

Visiones is critically acclaimed film- 
maker Hector Galan's bold journey 
into the richness and splendor of the 
Latino artistic heritage. Creating an 
evocative tapestry with archival 



footage, interviews, and performance, 
Galan explores the crucial impor- 
tance of the arts in the Latino experi- 
ence. This sampler previews segments 
from the upcoming three-part series 
on PBS, which encompasses Latino 
traditions in theater, art, music, and 
dance. Among the subjects featured 
are the beauty and social impact of 
mural painting and the influence of 
Cuban music. Hip-hop dancer 
Rockafella, cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz, 
and performance artist La Bruja are 
also profiled. 



*£ 



SWISSAMERICAN 
FILM FESTIVAL 



AIVF COSPONSORS: 
SWISS AMERICAN 
FILM FESTIVAL 

when: April 24-27 

where: Anthology Film Archives 

www.swisscinema.org 

The first annual SwissAm will pro- 
vide an opportunity for filmmakers 



AIVF ON THE 
ROAD . . . 

April 3: Las Cruces, NM 
Meet board member PAUL 
ESPINOSA at 9th Annual 
Border Book Festival, 
where he will screen his 
documentary Uneasy Neighbors. 

April 17: San Diego, CA 
Meet board member PAUL 
ESPINOSA at Open Screening 
Night, Media Arts Center. 
San Diego, 921 25th Street, San 
Diego, TEL: (619) 230-1938 

April 26-27: Boston, MA 
Meet board member LIZ CANNER 
at Digital Public Art Conference at 
Boston University. 

April 26: San Francisco, CA 
Meet board member RHADI TAYLOR 
at the San Francisco International 
Film Festival, where she will 
represent AIVF at the I CAN DO IT 
ALL ON MY COMPUTER panel. 



76 The Independent | April 2003 



FIVF THANKS 



The Foundation for Independent Video and Film (FIVF), the educational affiliate of the Association for Independent Video and 
Filmmakers (AIVF), supports a variety of programs and services for the independent media community, including publication of 
The Independent and a series of resource publications, seminars and workshops, and information services. None of this work 
would be possible without the generous support of the AIVF membership and the following organizations: 



S2 



The Academy Foundation 

Empire State Development Corporation 

Forest Creatures Entertainment, Inc. 

Home Box Office 
The J.R Morgan Chase Foundation 
'•- * John D. and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation 



The National Endowment for the Arts 

The New York Community Trust 

New York Foundation for the Arts 

New York State Council on the Arts 

Sony Electronics Corporation 

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation 



We also wish to thank the following individuals and organizational members: 



Nonprofit Members: AL: Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival; CA: 
Berkeley Documentary Center; Film Arts Foundation; Filmmakers 
Alliance; Fireside Foundation; International Buddhist Film Festival; LEF 
Foundation; Media Fund; San Diego Asian Film Festival; San Francisco 
Jewish Film Festival; The Sundance Institute; USC School of Cinema 
TV; CO: Colorado Film Commission; Denver Center Media; DC: Media 
Access Project; FL Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival; Sarasota Film 
Festival; University of Tampa; Valencia Community College; GA: Atlanta 
Black Film Festival, Inc.; Image Film and Video Center; Savannah 
College of Art and Design; HI: Pacific Islanders in Communications; 1L: 
Community Television Network; Light Bound; Northern Illinois 
University, Dept. of Communication; Rock Valley College; KY: 
Appalshop; MA: CCTV; Documentary Educational Resources; LEF 
Foundation; Long Bow Group, Inc.; Lowell Telecommunications Group 
Visual and Media Arts, Emerson College; WGBH Education Foundation 
MD: Laurel Cable Network; ME: Maine Photographic Workshops; MN 
IFP/MSP; Walker Art Center; Ml: Ann Arbor Film Festival; NC 
Cucalorus Film Foundation; Duke University, Film and Video 
Empowerment Project; UNC Greensboro, Broadcasting and Cinema 
NE: AIVF Salon/Lincoln; Great Plains Film Festival; Ross Film Theater, 
UN-Lincoln; NH: Telluride Film Festival; NJ: Black Maria Film Festival 
Freedom Film Society; NY: After Dark Productions; American Museum 
of Natural History; Art21; Center for New American Media; Cinema 
Arts Center; Children's Media Project; Cornell Cinema; Council for 
Positive Images, Inc.; Creative Capital Foundation; Crowing Rooster 
Arts; Department of Media Study SUNY Buffalo; Donnell Media Center; 
Downtown Community Television; Electronic Arts Intermix; 
Experimental TV Center; EVC; Film Forum; Film Society of Lincoln 
Center; Film Video Arts; Globalvision, Inc.; International Film Seminars; 
John Jay High School; Listen Up!; Manhattan Neighborhood Network; 
National Video Resources; Nina Winthrop and Dancers; New York Film 
Academy; New York Women in Film and Television; Paper Tiger; 
POV/The American Documentary; Pratt Institute; Ross Media Center; 
Standby Program; Stony Brook Film Festival; Syracuse University; The 
Bureau for At-Risk Youth; Upstate Films, Ltd.; Witness; Women Make 
Movies; OH: Athens Center for Film and Video; Media Bridges 
Cincinnati; Ohio University School of Film; Wexner Center for the Arts; 
OR: Media Arts, MHCC; Northwest Film Center; PA: American Poetry 
Center; Desales University, Department of the Performing Arts; 
Department of Film and Video, Carnegie Museum of Art; Great Lakes 
Film Association; Greenworks; Philadelphia Independent Film and 
Video Association; Prince Music Theater; Scribe Video Center; Temple 
University; University of the Arts; WYBE Public TV 35; Rh Flickers Arts 
Collaborative; SC: South Carolina Arts Commission; Hybrid Films; TX: 
Austin Film Society; Michener Center for Writers; Southwest Alternate 
Media Project; UT: Sundance Institute; VA: PBS; PBS Midwest; VA 
Department of Drama; VT: The Noodlehead Network; Wl: UWM 
Department of Film; France: The Camargo Foundation; Germany: 
International Short Film Festival; India: Foundation for Universal 
Responsibility; Singapore: Ngee Ann Polytechnic Library 



Business/Industry Members: AL: Cypress Moon Productions 
AZ: Aaquinas Productions, Inc.; Duck Soup Productions; CA 
Action/Cut Directed by Seminars; Bluprint Films; David Keith Company 
Eastman Kodak Co.; Groovy Like a Movie; The Hollywood Reporter 
MPRM; SJPL Films, Ltd.; Video Arts; CO: Makers Muse; Pay Reel; DC; 
48 Hour Film Project; FL: Full Sail Recorders; GeekPower; Vision 
Films; IL: Buzzbait; Roxie Media Corporation; Screen Magazine; MA: 
Glidecam Industries; MD: Dig Productions; The Learning Channel; 
NewsGroupA; Walterry Insurance; Ml: 10th Street Productions; Grace 
& Wild Studios, Inc.; Michael Kuentz Communications; MN: Aquaries 
Media; NH: Kinetic Films; NJ: Monkey Rant Productions; NY: All In 
One Productions; American Montage; Analog Digital Int'l, Inc.; ArtMar 
Productions; Black Bird Post; C-Hundred Film Corporation; Cataland 
Films; Chicks With Flicks Film Festival; Code 16/Radical Avid; 
Communications Society; Corra Films; Cypress Films; Dekart Video; 
Docurama; Dr. Reiff and Assoc.; Field Hand Productions, Inc.; Forest 
Creatures Entertainment; Fred Siegel CPA; Gartenberg Media 
Enterprises; Greenwich Street Productions; HBO; Hello World 
Communications; Interflix; Jalapeno Media; Karin Bacon Events; 
Lighthouse Creative; Long Island Film Festival; Lowel Light 
Manufacturing; Mad Mad Judy; The Means of Production, Inc.; Mercer 
Media; Metropolis Film Lab, Inc.; Mixed Greens; Moxie Firecracker 
Films; The Outpost; Outside in July, Inc.; Persona Films, Inc.; Post 
Typhoon Sky, Inc.; Prime Technologies; Robin Frank Managment; Roja 
Productions; Studio 4J; Symphony of Chaos Productions; Tribune 
Pictures; Webcasting Media Productions, Inc.; Wildlight Productions; 
XEL Media; Zanzibar Productions, Inc.; OH: Cleveland Film Society; 
Independent Pictures; PA: Cubist Post and Effects; Janny Montgomery 
Scott, LLC; Schiff Media/SBS Films; Smithtown Creek Productions; TX: 
The Media Cottage, Inc.; Worldfest 



Friends Of FIVF: Angela Alston, Desmond Andrews, Marion Appel, 
Phillip Aupperle, James J. Batzer, David Bemis, Doug Block, Dana 
Briscoe Brown, Margaret Brown, Adrianne Brown Ryan, Michael J. 
Camoin, Carl Canner, Liz Canner, Hugo Cassirer, Barbara Caver, Paul 
Devlin, Loni Ding, Martin Edelstein, Esq., Aaron Edison, Marilys Ernst, 
Paul Espinosa, Christopher Farina, Daniel Fass, Phoebe Ferguson, Holly 
Fisher, John Franco, Giovanni Ghidini, Nicole Guillemet, David Haas, 
Nancy Harvey, Emily Hubley, i-cubed Chicago, Sarah Jacobson, Jane 
Jaffin, John Kavanaugh, Amelia Kirby, Vivian Kleiman, Amie Knox, 
Leonard Kurz, Lyda Kuth, Bart Lawson, Michelle Lebrun, William 
Lyman, David C. Maclay, Jr., Diane Markrow, Matthieu Mazza, Jim 
McKay, Diane Murphy, Sheila Nevins, Richard Numeroff, Elizabeth 
Peters, Mimi Pickering, Christina Reilly, David Reynolds, Amalie 
Rothschild, Larry Sapadin, John B. Schwartz, Robert L. Seigel, Esq., 
Gail Silva, Kit-Yin Snyder, Rhonda Leigh Tanzman, Rahdi Taylor, Temple 
University, Cynthia Travis, Joyce Vaughn, Cynthia Veliquette, PhD., 
Bart Weiss, Mary H. Wharton 



April 2003 | The Independent 77 



from the United Scares and 
Switzerland to showcase their work as 
an ensemble. SwissAm will presenr 
the emerging talents from both coun- 
tries ottering an open forum for the 
exchange of ideas and business 
opportunities. Works to be featured 
will include experimental, documen- 
taries, animations, and shorts. 
SwissAm will be presented within the 
Swiss Peaks festival 

SHORT STUFF 

ii'hen: Saturday, April 26, 12:30-2:30 
where: Anthology Film Archives, NYC 

How do you go about getting your 
short seen? This panel composed of 
US microcinemas, television pro- 
grammers and distributors will 
explore the possibilities of showing 
foreign films in traditional and alter- 
native venues. For more information, 
visit www.aivf.org. 



tart -dots 

Canadian LHefftaK«fV»JlOocume.iia(u F«!i' 



AIVF 

Efflanj Festival COSPONSORSl 

HOT DOCS CANADIAN 
INTERNATIONAL 
DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL 

when: April 25-May 4 
www.hotdocs.ca 

Hot Docs is North America's largest 
documentary festival. Each year, the 
festival presents a selection of over 
one hundred cutting-edge documen- 
taries from Canada and around the 
globe. Through its industry programs, 
the festival also provides a full range 
of professional development, a mar- 
ket, and networking opportunities for 
documentary professionals. 

From April 30-May 1, 2003, Hot 
Docs will mount its fourth annual 
Toronto Documentary Forum, a 
two-day pitching event designed to 
assist independent producers from 
Canada and around the world raise 
cofinancing from the international 
marketplace. 




GAY&LESBI 

FILM FESTIVAL 



AIVF COSPONSORS: 
MIAMI GAY AND 
LESBIAN FILM 
FESTIVAL 

when: April 25-May 4 

cwf.$10AIVF& 

MGLFF members/$ 13.25 general 

www.miamigaylesbianfdm.com 

The Miami Gay & Lesbian Film 
Festival, is held in the world-renowned 
historic South Beach neighborhood 
and features films by, about and 
of interest to the gay, lesbian, 
bisexual and transgender communities. 

AIVF COSPONSORS: '"CTJ^PHP^P 
NASHVILLE FILM || 4$ 

FESTIVAL B * t* 

' NASHVILLE 

when: April 28-May 4 film FESTIVAL 

www.nashvillefilm- 

festival.org 

The Nashville Film Festival is a seven- 
day celebration of independent and 
international film and video, includ- 
ing narrative features, documentaries, 
shorts, animation and experimental 
works, with a special nod to films 
about music. The festival also includes 
panels and workshops on filmmaking 
and music in films, live music show- 
cases, and other special events. 

AIVF MEMBER DISCOUNT: 

wTTmmrwm films at 

■MjDWHa THE LINCOLN 
,-)■ ^"CENTER 

where: Walter Reade Theatre, Lincoln 
Center, 165 west 65th St., NYC 
www. filmlinc.com 

AIVF members may attend select 
screening series (listed below) at a 
discounted rate— just $5 per ticket. 
Bring your membership card to the 
box office! 

April 5-10 African Film Festival 
Tenth Anniversary 
April 11-May 1 Middle of the 
World: Discovering Swiss Cinema 



WOMEN MAKEMOVIES 
MEDIA WORKSHOP SERIES 

where: 462 Broadway, Ste. 500, NYC 

Women Make Movies is offering a new 
spring season of media workshops. 

FUNDER PANELS 

cost: $120/ $95 discount rate* Fee 
includes registration for three nights 
when: April 8, 6:30-8:30, Finishing 
Funds; April 29, 6:30-8:30, Found- 
ation Funder 

To register call 21 2-925-0606 x302 or visit 
www.wmm.com 



New and improved 
exhibitors listings! 

AIVF is proud to announce the 
update of The ATVFFilm and Video 
Exhibitors Guide. Offering profiles 
of over 1,000 venues friendly to 
independents, the Exhibitors 
Guide is an essential resource for 
artists who self-distribute their 
work. Listings comprise both tra- 
ditional theaters and nontradi- 
tional exhibition spaces, and 
each profile contains complete 
facility and contact information. 

This update is a based on a 2003 
survey of all listed venues, super- 
vised by Rania Richardson, who 
also edited the recent edition of 
the AIVF Guide to Film and Video 
Distributors. Many listings have 
been reworked, and the entire vol- 
ume has been reconfigured to 
allow more frequent updating of 
material through the AIVF print- 
to-order publications program. A 
companion online directory that 
allows customized searches of 
venues will be launched in fall 
2003. 

For more info, see our website: 
www.aivf.org/resources/aivf_books.html 



78 The Independent | April 2003 



The AIVF Regional Salons provide an 
opportunity for members to discuss 
work, meet other independents, share 
war stories, and connect with the AIVF 
community across the country. 

Visit www.aivf.org/regional for an over- 
view of the broad variety of regional 
salon programs. 

Be sure to contact your local Salon 
leader to confirm date, time, and location 
of the next meeting! 

Albany/Troy, NY: 
Upstate Independents 

When: First Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: Arts Center of the Capital Region 

265 River Street, Troy, NY 

Contact: Jeff Burns, (518) 366-1538 

albany@aivf.org 

www.upstateindependents.net 

Atlanta, GA: IMAGE 

When: Second Tuesdays, 7 p.m. 

Where: Redlight Cafe 

553 Amsterdam Ave. 

Contact: Mark Smith, (404) 352-4225 xl2 

atlanta@aivf.org; www.imagefv.org 

Austin, TX: Austin Film Society 

When: Last Mondays, 7 p.m. 
Contact: Jen White, (512) 917-3027 
austin@aivf.org; www.austinfilm.org 

Boston, MA: Center for 
Independent Documentary 

Contact: Fred Simon, (781) 784-3627 
boston@aivf.org 

Boulder, CO: 

"Films for Change" Screenings 

When: First Tuesdays, 7 p.m. 
Where: Boulder Public Library 
1000 Arapahoe 
Contact: Linda Mamoun, 
(303) 442-8445; boulder@aivf.org 

Charleston, SC: 

When: Last Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: Charleston County Library 

68 Calhoun Street 

Contact: Peter Paolini, (843) 805-6841; or 

Peter Wentworth, charleston@aivf.org 



Salons are run by AIVF members, often in 
association with local partners. AIVF has 
resources to assist enthusiastic, commit- 
ted members who wish to start a salon 
in their own community. Please call 
(212) 807-1400 x236 or send e-mail 
to members@aivf.org for information. 



Cleveland, OH: 

Ohio Independent Film Festival 

Contact: Annetta Marion or Bernadette 
Gillota, (216) 651-7315; cleveland@aivf.org 
www.ohiofilms.com 

Columbia, SC: Hybrid Films 

When: Second Sundays 
Where: Art Bar, 1211 Park St. 
Contact: Wade Sellers, (803) 929-0066 
columbia@aivf.org 

Dallas, TX: 

Video Association of Dallas 

Contact: Bart Weiss, (214) 428-8700 
dallas@aivf.org 

Edison, NJ: 

Contact: Allen Chou, (732) 321-0711 
edison@aivf.org; www.passionriver.com 

Fort Wayne, IN: 

Contact: Erik Mollberg 

(260) 421-1248; fortwayne@aivf.org 

Houston, TX: SWAMP 

When: Last Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: 1519 West Main 

Contact: Mary Lampe, (713) 522-8592 

houston@aivf.org 



Birth of a Hybrid Salon 

The Columbia, 
South Carolina, 
AIVF Salon was 
started by Hybrid 
Films as an event 
to bring together 
independent film- 
makers, writers, 
actors, technicians, and those in the 
community interested in independent 
filmmaking. February's salon featured 
Bob Leddy, an award-winning 
writer/director from Wilmington, NC. 
Recently gaining admission to the 
WGA, Bob spoke about his experi- 
ences as a writer and read from his cur- 
rent feature project. Previous salons 
have featured representatives from the 
SC Film office, SC Arts Commission, as 
well as local indie filmmakers. 

The AIVF salons are main events 
that surround Hybrid Films' other pro- 
grams, which include film workshops, 
local filmmaker fiscal sponsorship, 
grant programs, independent equip- 
ment rentals, and the annual Beg and 
Grovel Film Festival. 

- Wade Sellers 



Huntsville, AL: 

Contact: Charles White, huntsville@aivf.org 

Jefferson County, AL: 

Contact: Paul Godby, (205) 956-3522 
jeffersoncounty@aivf.org 

Lincoln, NE: Nebraska 
Independent Film Project 

When: Second Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. 
Where: Telepro, 1844 N Street 
Contact: Jared Minary, lincoln@aivf.org, 
www.nifp.org 

Los Angeles, CA: EZTV 

When: Third Mondays, 7:30 p.m. 

Where: EZTV, 1653 18th St. 

Santa Monica 

Contact: Michael Masucci 

(310) 829-3389; losangeles@aivf.org 

Milwaukee, Wl: Milwaukee 
Independent Film Society 

When: First Wednesdays, 7 p.m. 

Where: Milwaukee Enterprise Center, 

2821 North 4th, Room 140 

Contact: Laura Gembolis 

(414) 688-2375; milwaukee@aivf.org 

www.mifs.org/salon 

Portland, OR: 

Contact: David Bryant, (503) 244-4225 
portland@aivf.org 

Rochester, NY: 

When: First Wednesdays, 7 p.m. 
(Subject to change; call to confirm) 
Where: Visual Studies Workshop 
Contact: W. Keith McManus 
(716) 256-3871; rochester@aivf.org 

San Diego, CA: 

Contact: Ethan van Thillo 

(619) 230-1938; sandiego@aivf.org 

San Francisco, CA: 

Contact: Tami Saunders 

(650) 271-0097; sanfrancisco@aivf.org 

Seattle, WA: 

Contact: Heather Ayres 

(206) 297-0933; Jane Selle Morgan 

(206) 915-6263; seattle@aivf.org 

Tucson, AZ: 

When: First Mondays, 6 p.m. 
Where: Access Tucson, 124 E. Broadway 
Contact: Rosarie Salerno 
tucson@aivf.org 

Washington, DC: 

Contact: Joe Torres, DC Salon hotline, 
(202) 554-3263 x4 
washingtondc@aivf.org 



April 2003 | The Independent 79 



the list 



Memorable Moviehouses 

By Jason Guerrasio 

Today's multiplexes cram so many screens into their buildings 

that getting to your seat feels more like finding your gate at the airport 

than the fun-filled adventure movies used to be. But in this era when 

Hollywood blockbusters open on thousands of screens during a single 

weekend, there are still a handful of theaters more concerned with turning 

a trip to the movies into a memorable evening out than with corporate 

bottom lines. Even though they are as rare as real butter on your 

popcorn, there's probably one of the gems near you. 



Keeping the tradition alive 

Shankweiler's Drive-in, Orefield, PA 

(www.shankweilers.com) 

The longest-running outdoor cinema in America, 
Shankweiler's Drive-in has been showing films every sea- 
son since 1934. Shankweiler's was the second drive-in in 
the US and the first to introduce this classic American 
experience to Pennsylvania. Keeping the old drive-in tradi- 
tion alive, Shankweiler moviegoers still have the option to 
use old-fashioned window speaker to hear the film (most 
drive-ins use car stereos). 

Seventy-five and counting 

Millwald Theatre, Wytheville, VA 

One of the oldest continually running theaters in the 
United States, the Millwald has been going strong since 
1928. Through bomb scares during the Cold War (where 
the Millwald's basement was designated a bomb shelter) to 
the advent of the multiplex that closed down many of the 
small town theaters for good, the Millwald is a hidden 
American treasure. 

A taste of old Hollywood 

Grauman's Chinese Theater, Hollywood, CA 

fmann.moviefone.com) 

You may also know it as "Mann's Chinese Theater," the 
most famous movie theater in the world. Its claim to fame 
is the "Forecourt of Stars' Footprints," but you can go in 
and see a movie too. Running for over seven decades, the 
theater is filled with Hollywood tradition. You can even 
take a tour that brings you to the VIP lounge and balcony 
where the stars hobnob during premieres. 



That homey touch 

Terrace Theater, Tinonee, New South Wales 

In the Australian village of Manning Valley, Darren Bird 
has transformed his little, century-old house into a twenty- 
two seat licensed movie theater that shows everything from 
summer blockbusters to art-house films. Using his bed- 
room window as the ticket window, you enter to find all 
the bells and whistles that you'd expect at any multiplex. 
You can even hang out after the movie in Bird's kitchen to 
discuss the film over tea and cookies. 

Putting little bottoms in the seats 

Angelika Film Center, Dallas, Texas 

(www.angelikafilmcenter.com) 

The Dallas Angelika Film Center is just one of the art houses 
around the country offering "Cry Baby Matinees." Every 
Saturday and Tuesday new moms can catch up on the lat- 
est indie hits in a baby-friendly environment. With the 
baby-changing tables provided, the lights dimmed, and the 
sound lowered, this popular Texas event is ideal for moth- 
ers raising future filmmakers. 

One place not to break the ice 

The Ice Hotel, Beauport, Quebec 

(www.icehotelcanada.com/en/hotel.htm) 
Some people escape winter by flying south each year, but in 
Quebec, instead of turning on the defrost, they've built a hotel 
out of ice. And during your stay you have the luxury of going 
to the movies in a theater constructed of ice. Patrons sit on ice 
benches while enjoying films with winter-related themes. 
Good thing there's an Absolut vodka bar in the lobby O 

Jason Guerrasio is a staff writer for The Independent. 



80 The Independent | April 2003 




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contents 



May 2003 | Volume 26 Number 4 | www.aivf.org 




Features 



40 INDEPENDENT PRODUCERS AND PBS 

The long struggle for funding and airtime. 
[by Jana Germano] 

44 VIEWS FROM THE HILL 

Profiles of key members of Congress and 
where they stand on public television funding. 
[by Charlie Sweitzer] 

46 GETTING UP TO SPEC FOR PBS 

High technical standards can be daunting, 
but can be achieved with a little help and 
the right materials. 
[by Greg Gilpatrick] 

49 SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST 

Public access centers tighten belts and 
strategize to stay alive. 
[by Claiborne Smith] 



Photos: Denese Becker traces her Guatemalan roots in 
Patricia Flynn's Discovering Dominga (P.O.V.); local politics 
is the field of discussion on CAN TV's The Jack Ryan Show 
(CAN TV); Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) greets the Cookie 
Monster (Dingell). 

Page 5 photos: Jean-Claude Brisseau's Choses Secretes 
(IFFR); cancer rates among residents of Vieques, Puerto 
Rico, is the focus of filmmaker Frances Negron-Muntaner 
(David Gonzalez); documentary filmmaker Jennifer Dworkin 
(Joshua Kessler); Charlie Carillo in Latino Public 
Broadcasting's Visiones; Hoskie Benally, of Jilann Spitzmiller 
and Hank Rogerson's Circle of Stories, in Shiprock, New 
Mexico (Jilann Spitzmiller). 

On the Cover: Public television icon Bill Moyers is an active 
supporter of independents through his program, NOW With 
Bill Moyers. He is also a vocal advocate of independent film- 
makers across the spectrum of public television (Jenifer 
Huegel/NOW with Bill Moyers). 



May 2003 | The Independent 3 




Compact, Versatile, Portable. 

Shooting today may travel at the speed of digital. But while the run and gun 
pace of both shooting and editing may leave you breathless, the old truth 
remains: You're still gonna need good lights. Lowel's wide assortment of 
compact kits & lights are designed to make good lighting easy to achieve. 
They set up quickly and efficiently. And now with the addition of our new 250 
watt collapsible Rifa-44 soft light, lighting at the speed of digital has never 
been easier. It's what you'd expect from the world leader in location lighting. 




800-334-3426 www.lowel.com 



contents 




Upfront 



IGHE 

&NCER 




7 EDITOR'S LETTER 

9 NEWS Stan Brakhage remembered; CPB faces 
budget cuts; court mulls new cable internet 
laws, [by Charlie Sweitzer] 

13 FIRST PERSON Public television's double bind: 
producer apathy and political attacks. 
[by Cara Merles] 

17 PROFILES Jennifer Dworkin; Steve Mendelsohn. 
[by Matt Wolf; Mark J. Huisman] 

23 HELD REPORT Puerto Rico. 
[by Elisha Maria Miranda] 

27 SITE SEEING ITVS goes online with Electric 
Shadows, [by Maya Churi] 

29 DOC DOCTOR When to factor the target audience 
into your film project, [by Fernanda Rossi] 

3 1 FUNDER FAQ Latino Public Broadcasting. 
[by Jason Guerrasio] 

34- FESTIVAL aRCUrr International Film Festival 
Rotterdam and the Berlin Film Festival. 
[by Mark Rabinowitz] 

38 ON VIEW A.J. Schnack tracks the rise of eclectic 
rock group They Might Be Giants in Gigantic; 
plus other work to watch for. 
[by Jason Guerrasio] 



Departments 



SA- LEGAL Music licenses for public television. 
[by Robert L. Seigel] 

56 TECHNOLOGY Audio editing tips for Final Cut Pro. 
[by Bryant Falk] 

THE LIST PBS moments remembered. 
[by Jason Guerrasio] 



Listings 

58 FESTIVALS 

66 FILMS/TAPES WANTED 

70 NOTICES 

73 CLASSIFIEDS 



AIVF 



AIVF NEWS AND EVENTS 
79 SALONS 



May 2003 | The Independent 5 







Support 






the organization that 




W**M 


supports you. 




lul 


Since 1973, the Association of 
Independent Video and Filmmakers 

has worked tirelessly to support independent 




^£*J 


vision — and we're still going at it! 




E3 


From leading the movement to establish 






the Independent Television Service (ITVS) to 




III^EsJ 


working with SAG to draft their limited 
exhibition agreement for indie producers, 






AlVF's achievements have preserved 






opportunities for producers working 






outside the mainstream. AlVF 




ii) 

|5 


Programs and Regional Salons share 






valuable resources and create community. 






Our Festival, Exhibitor, and Distribution 






Guides are considered "bibles" to the field. 
In this time of increasing corporatization of 




K*J 


media, it's imperative that independents 




i«>i 


stand together to preserve our 




gSj 


autonomy. For just $55/yr. add your 
voice to ours, and take advantage of AlVF 




■<»■ 


member benefits including scores of national 






trade discounts and access to group 
insurance plans. 

visit us at www.aivf.org 

or call 212/ 807-1400 






TOTALLY INDfPENDEHT 



ttielndependent 

■ I FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 

Publisher: Elizabeth Peters 

[publisher@aivl.org] 

Editor-in-Chief: Maud Kersnowski 
[editor@aivl.oro] 

Managing Editor: James Ellis 

[iodepeodent@aivl.org] 

Festival Circuit Editor: Jacque Lynn Schiller 

[iacque@3ivl.org] 

Staff Writer: Jason Guerrasio 

[jasoo@aivt.org] 

Design Director: Suzy Flood 

[suzyl@optooline.net] 

Production Associate: Joshua Sanchez 

[josh@aivf.org] 

Editorial Interns: Charlie Sweitzer, Kathleen Kirk 

[chas@aivt.org, kathleeo@aivf.org] 

Contributing Editors: 

Pat Aufderheide, Maya Churi, Bo Mehrad, 

Cara Merr.es, Robert L. Seigel, Esq., Patricia Thomson 

Contributing Photographer: Joshua Kessler 

[josh@joshoakessler.com] 

Proofreader: Susan Freel 

[osiososan@yahoo.com] 

Advertising Director: Laura D. Davis 

(212) 807-1400 x225; [displayads@aivf.org] 

Advertising Representative: Veronica Shea 
(212) 807-1400 x232; [verooica@aivf.org] 

Classified Advertising: James Israel 

(212) 807-1400 x241; [classifieds@aivf.org] 



National Distribution: 
Ingram Periodicals (800) 627-6247 



POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: 

77ie Independent Film & Video Monthly, 304 Hudson St., 

6 fl„ New York, NY 10013 

The Independent Film & Video Monthly (ISSN 0731-5198) is published 
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6 The Independent | May 2003 




Editor's 
Letter 

Dear Reader: 
Most of us 
under forty do 
not remember a 
world without 
PBS. In fact, we 
were raised on it. 
We learned lessons in reading, math, 
and tolerance at the knees of a giant 
yellow bird and a guy in a cardigan 
sweater. In the world of Mr. Rogers, 
Zoom, and Sesame Street, Latinos, 
African Americans, whites, Asians, 
Native Americans, girls, boys, 
Muppets, and everybody else stood on 
a level playing field. Children's broad- 
casting on PBS has spent decades 
bringing up American children to be 
"tolerant of the ideas and behaviors of 
others," the definition of liberal, 
according to American Heritage 
Dictionary. 

Sometimes I think our Utopian 
childhood experience of PBS makes us 
hypercritical of what we see on the 
same stations as adults. We complain 
that the programming is too conser- 
vative, but we would stand up and 
cheer if the same network that airs The 
Bachelorette added a series like Master- 
piece Theatre or The News Hour to their 
mid-season replacement list. We com- 
plain about the corporate sponsors 
that now seem dangerously close to 
advertisers, yet the majority of us 
remain silent when the Corporation 
for Public Broadcasting's budget is on 
the federal chopping block. Most of 
us are part of the grumbling liberal 
majority. But there are those who have 
pushed public broadcasting into new 
and exciting territory both from with- 
in PBS and from without. 

And as our legal columnist Robert 
Seigel points out, public broadcasting 
is much more than just PBS (see pg. 
54). It includes any broadcaster that 
fits into CPB's definition of public 
broadcasting. This includes college 



stations, some religious program- 
ming, and public access. 

Public access centers hold an impor- 
tant place in the media world. They are 
one of the last frontiers of completely 
free speech. These stations can air 
shows that profit-driven commercial 
television and politics/ratings-con- 
science PBS never could or would. But 
to stay viable, public access centers are 
having to become even more creative in 
their financing and their program- 
ming, as writer Claiborne Smith illus- 
trates in his article Survival of the Fittest 
(see pg. 49). 

For those of you who want to know 
more about CPB and PBS, journalist 
Jana Germano examines the complicat- 
ed relationship that these public 
broadcasting entities have with inde- 
pendent producers (see page 40). And if 
you're thinking about becoming one of 
those producers by submitting a film 
to one of the PBS strands, you should 
take a look at Greg Gilpatrick's piece, 
Up to Spec for PBS. 

If you're more interested in what you 
can do to support PBS, take a look at 
page 44. Charlie Sweitzer has put 
together a list elected officials in DC 
that are major players when it comes to 
public broadcasting. This is by no 
means a complete list, and remember 
that every member of the House and 
Senate votes on legislation effecting 
public broadcasting. This means you 
have four votes you can possibly influ- 
ence: two Senators, one member of the 
House of Representatives, and the 
President. These people may not 
respond to your e-mail or letter, but 
they certainly count them. To contact 
your Congressional Representative, log 
on to www.house.gov. To contact your 
Senators, log on to www.senate.gov. To 
contact the White House, see page 45. 

Thank you for supporting The 

Independent. 

Maud Kersnowski 
Editor in chief 
Editor@aivf.org 




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An Adventure 
of Perception 

STAN BRAKHAGE, 1933-2003 
By Elizabeth Peters 



ames Stanley Brakhage died 

£ , March 9 after a long battle with 

o cancer. According to a statement 

s ''' written by his wife, Marilyn, 

£ "Stan spent his final weeks and days 

9 scratching on film and drawing pic- 

f tures of his visions, both internal and 

| external, as he worked through his ill- 

$ ness. He expressed much love and 

o kindness and gratitude to others, and 

o said, 'I've had a really good life.'" 

< Brakhage's prolific body of work— 

° he authored close to four hundred 

CO 

¥ films over the past fifty years— and his 

o sensitive and accessible writings on 

o ° 

P 

i Stan Brakhage circa 1 970. 



art, artists, and perception earned him 
a prominent place within American 
avant garde cinema. His experiments 
with form have vastly influenced con- 
temporary work in experimental film, 
music video, and advertising. 

Every student who has taken a survey 
of film course has likely encountered 
his work. He was a consummate inde- 
pendent, yet chafed at Hollywood's co- 
option of the term, preferring to call his 
work "poetic film." Whether documen- 
tary, fiction, conceptual, or abstract, he 
intended his films to mine new chan- 
nels of perception and thus spark new 
forms of understanding. 

The extent of his influence stems to 



a great degree from his accessibility. 
From his early days in New York, 
where he worked alongside artists 
such as Maya Deren and Joseph 
Cornell, to the weekly informal film 
salons he held in Boulder, Colorado, 
throughout the nineties, Brakhage 
was never an esoteric but rather 
opened himself to communion and 
experience, and encouraged his audi- 
ences and colleagues to do likewise. 
He influeced countless filmmakers 
during his tenures at the Chicago 
Institute of Art and then later the 
University of Colorado at Boulder, 
and toured the globe to present 
numerous screenings of his own and 
others' works in person. (The time I 
met him he was carrying his most 
recent work in tight little coils in his 
satchel; at one point he pulled out a 
bit of film and held it up to the light 
to make a point, right over his plate of 
pad thai. I was somewhat taken aback 
that such great art could be so casual- 



May 2003 | The Independent 9 




TONY BURNS 

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$ 



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ly transported, and delighted with the 
tactile intimacy of the gesture.) 

The Chicago Reader devoted the 
Winter 2001/Spring 2002 edition to 
Brakhage. Titled "Stan Brakhage: 
Correspondences," the journal pack- 
ages a number of writings by and 
about Brakhage to illustrate the corre- 
spondences between the verbal and 
visual arts, reminding us that 
"Although he is rightly known best for 
the 370-some films he has made, 
Brakhage is also one of our most 
articulate aestheticians." His writings 
on film and perception, from 
Metaphors on Vision to Film at Wits End 
to more recent contributions to jour- 
nals, conferences, and radio programs, 
provide intelligent yet informal entree 
into a body of work that could have 
seemed profoundly arcane. 

This month the Criterion Collec- 
tion will release a DVD package of 
twenty-six Brakhage films. 

For more information: 

www.fredcamper.com/Film/BrakhageL.html 

www.canyoncinema.com/B/Brakhage.html 

www.zeitgeistfilms.com/current/brakhage/ 
brakhage.html 

humanities.uchicago.edu/orgs/review/ 
index_474_481.shtml 

www.criterionco.com/asp/release.asp?id=184 

Elizabeth Peters is executive director ofAJVF 
and publisher of "The Independent. 

CPB Faces Possible 
Budget Cuts 

By Charlie Sweitzer 

President Bush's proposed budgets 
for 2004 and 2005 will introduce deep 
cuts and radical changes for the 
Corporation for Public Broadcasting 
(CPB) if they pass through Congress 
later this year unaltered. In addition 
to a tighter budget, CPB would not 
receive advance appropriations for 
2006. Advance appropriations allow 
CPB and the media entities it funds, 
such as PBS and NPR, to plan for 
upcoming seasons in similar manners 
as commercial networks like ABC or 



HBO. These appropriations also pro- 
tect public broadcasters from being 
pressured by politicians to some 
degree. If the current budget is 
approved, it would be the first time 
that CPB has been denied this kind of 
funding since 1976, when advance 
appropriations were first applied by 
Congress. "[It] would certainly remove 
one of the fire walls that protects us 
from political interference in produc- 
tion and programming decisions," 
says John Lawson, president and CEO 
of the Association of Public Television 
Stations (APTS), an organization 
which works with CPB, PBS, and NPR 
on funding and advocacy issues. "And 
it would inject a major dose of unpre- 
dictability into public television and 
our process of establishing budgets." 

As Congress negotiates the 
President's budget, Lawson encour- 
ages people to voice their support of 
public television by writing their 
Senators and Representatives, and 
also by logging on to http://ptvac- 
tion.org, an advocacy website run up 
by APTS. Lawson notes that for the 
past two years the President has made 
similar efforts to eliminate advance 
funding, but Congress has overridden 
him in both cases. "It's like the old 
saying, 'the President proposes, 
Congress disposes,'" he jokes. 

Though fewer than fifty percent of 
public broadcasting's income comes 
from tax-based revenues, CPB appro- 
priations are critical because they pro- 
vide a secure operating base. The 
President's proposed budget further 
erodes CPB's operating budget by ear- 
marking $100 million in 2004's pro- 
posed $380 million budget for digital 
conversion. Taking these funds out of 
CPB's operating budget would be 
"disastrous," says Lawson. "His budg- 
et would cannibalize the funding that 
goes into production and operations." 

APTS estimates that the total cost 
of converting every PBS station to a 
completely digital broadcast signal by 
the FCC deadline of 2006 will be $1.7 
billion. All 357 PBS stations must 



10 The Independent | May 2003 



convert to at least partially digital 
broadcast by May 1, 2003. As of press 
time, 107 stations had met this dead- 
line. One recent station to convert was 
Pennsylvania's WPSX. Kate Zomico, 
the station's director of technology, 
said their own conversion process 
(which now enables WPSX to broad- 
cast "a limited digital signal") made 
use of a variety of resources, including 
state funds, a capital capaign, and a 
grant from the Public Telecommuni- 
cations Facilities Program (PTFP), a 
federal organization which provides 
matching grants for, among other 
telecommunications institutions, 
public television and radio. (President 
Bush has also recently suggested elim- 
inating funding for the PTFP, but the 
House and the Senate have agreed to 
keep it funded in the fiscal year 2003.) 
"Everyone has been doing their con- 
version to digital in their own creative 
ways," says Zomico. 

So far, 192 PBS stations have antic- 
ipated they won't meet the May 1 
deadline and requested waivers from 
the FCC. "I think by May 1 we'll have 
a majority of our stations on the air, 
which is way ahead of where the com- 
mercial broadcast industry was on their 
deadline of May 1, 2002," says Lawson. 

But Lawson also emphasizes that 
"2006, of course, is just a date on a 
piece of paper. The real transition 
number is eighty-five, meaning that 
eighty-five percent of the households 
in a market have to be capable of 
receiving a digital signal" before ana- 
log broadcast can be discontinued 
entirely. 

"People in public television see the 
promise in digital," he says. "There is 
no business model right now that jus- 
tifies the investment in a commercial 
sense. But when your orientation is 
delivering services to communities . . . 
I believe that the more federal funding 
is tied to local production and local 
services, the more success we'll have in 
not only preserving CPB funding and 
CPB services, but growing CPB fund- 
ing over the next several years." 



Court of Appeals 
to Rule on Cable 
Internet Regulation 

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth 
Circuit (which covers Oregon, Califor- 
nia, Nevada, and Washington) is hear- 
ing a case this month that, if successful, 
would reestablish cable internet access 
under the same laws that govern cable 
broadcasting. The case is challenging a 
2002 action by the Federal Communi- 
cations Commision (FCC) which classi- 
fied internet access from cable modems 
as an "information service" rather than 
a "cable service." This effectively deregu- 
lated cable internet services and elimi- 
nated the fees due to public access cen- 
ters from these internet services under 
franchise agreement. Because the FCC 
action removed ownership limits for 
cable internet, it could encourage 
monopolies and "subtle forms" of dis- 
crimination, according to Cheryl A. 
Leanza, deputy director of the Media 
Access Project, one of the organizations 
arguing against the FCC. "[Unlike 
phone companies] cable companies can 
choose the content on your system." 

Film and video distribution over the 
internet could also be restricted. Leanza 
points out that in cable internet's infan- 
cy, many providers only allowed con- 
sumers to download video clips under 
ten seconds. A restriction they quickly 
and quietly rescinded, fearing legal 
repercussions and public outcry. 

Cable providers overwhelmingly 
have supported the FCC's decision. 
"The cable companies just said 'trust 
us,' which makes us very suspicious," 
Leanza says. "If you would never do 
anything wrong, why would you be 
afraid of a rule?" 

A decision is expected this fall. If 
the court rules against the FCC, it is 
expected the FCC will appeal and take 
the issue to the Supreme Court. 

For more information on the Media Access 
Project, visit www.mediaaccess.org. 

To file a comment with the FCC on this issue, 
visit http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/ecfs/Upload. 

Charlie Sweitzer is a New York-based writer 
and intern for The Independent. 



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PBS's Double Bind 

PRODUCER APATHY AND POLITICAL ATTACKS 
By Cara Merles 



There's a phenomenon afoot 
that is increasingly evident 
this year— at Sundance, Real 
Screen, and beyond. Let's 
call it producer fatigue; what was for- 
merly indignation with PBS has mor- 
phed into simple dismissal. It seems 
so complicated, the thought goes, why 
work with public television at all? In a 
year when public television funding 
sources brought a majority of the doc- 
umentaries to Sundance, when the 
PBS schedule has never seen so much 
space for independent work, when 
PBS documentaries once again led 
Emmy wins, it is ironic that the will to 
be a public television producer seems 
to be fading in some quarters. 

It is most evident with a younger 
generation of producers who have 
never known a world without cable 
and who have no knowledge about 
how media systems have been struc- 
tured in the US. That makes it hard 
for them to grasp the differences 
between Showtime, IFC, A&E, 
HBO/Cinemax, and, say, PBS. Why 
sweat the details? 

Independents are not the only 
group confused about the opportu- 
nities public television can afford 
them. The government is dismissing 
the need for a public media system as 
well, perhaps because they don't care 
to differentiate commercial offerings 
from noncommercial ones either. 
While the world is drawn into 
America's ill-defined "war on terror- 
ism," the Bush administration con- 
tinues to deal its budgetary death 
blows at home, and in February, PBS 
was once again on the chopping 
block for 2003 and 2004. John 
Lawson, head of PBS's national lob- 
bying organization, the Association 
of Public Television Stations, recent- 



ly said in a meeting that PBS has not 
been under such a threat since Newt 
Gingrich, as speaker of the House, 
engineered the "Contract with 
America." Then there was an all-out 
effort to defund public television 
and radio. This time, it's a quiet rev- 
olution taking place under the cover 
of war, tucked into budgets and bills, 
so far with little public outcry. 

In case you think the threat to the 




PBS as we know it isn't serious, a 
February 2003 letter in response to 
Bush's proposed 2003 budget, signed 
by executives of the entire system— PBS, 
NPR, APTS, and CPB-states it bluntly: 
"The vast majority of CPB funds go 
directly to more than 1,000 local pub- 
lic radio and television stations. 
These cuts would hit them at an 
already difficult time, when they are 
eliminating programming and cut- 
ting other services due to the weak- 
ened economy and deep cuts in state 
funding. . . . This service is deeply 



threatened by this budget proposal, 
as is CPB's investment in new nation- 
al programming for TV and radio. In 
addition, this budget proposal makes 
no provision for advance funding, 
ending a twenty-nine-year tradition 
that has allowed public broadcasters 
leverage for raising nonfederal fund- 
ing; adequate lead time to plan, 
design, create, and support the pro- 
grams and services we are mandated 
to provide; and a buffer from the 
political process." 

The 2003 funding was restored 
after intense lobbying, but 2004 is 
still up for grabs. Political machina- 
tions aside, many newer producers are 
simply not getting PBS. Presenting 
recently at the Real Screen Summit 
this year in Washington, DC, I was 
struck by the number of producers 
who had never worked on a public tel- 
evision project. Friday morning, limit- 
ed informational sessions were filled 
for Sundance, National Geographic, 
Discovery, HBO, and Court TV. I was 
one of four PBS icon series producers 
presenting in the afternoon closing 
session, and I wondered whether it, 
too, would be crowded. No worries 
there— it was a major panel and the 
room was full, but the first question 
was what I'd been hearing from pro- 
ducers from the entire summit: Why 
try? It was an odd echo of the current 
administration's return to "why care?" 

These trends are linked, I believe, 
in several ways— a primary one being 
the lack of an exciting and com- 
pelling language that is effectively 
disseminated in mainstream cul- 
ture, setting PBS apart as a must- 
have for producers and politicians 
alike. The midcentury generation 
that crafted the inspiring institu- 
tionalization of public funding for 
public culture that so many have 
benefited from is passing. The lan- 
guage that ensured its vitality is 
being eroded by a steady drumbeat 
of commercialization and a political 
will to retreat from government sup- 
port from anything but defense, 



May 2003 | The Independent 13 






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commerce, and security. Informed 
critiques, thoughtful commentary, 
and good, questioning journalism 
are under fire, and myths of "liberal 
media bias" (see footnote below) 
abound to further discredit all 
efforts to bring anything like a dem- 
ocratic dialogue to bear on our soci- 
ety's pressing issues. 

Met with apathy from potential 
content suppliers and antipathy from 
government funders, it seems like PBS 
can't get a break, like many other cul- 
tural and educational nonprofits. 



sion, which is why the system has to 
do a better job getting out the oppor- 
tunities and advantages of working 
for public television. Congress pro- 
vides fewer than twenty percent of the 
total funding for public television, 
but it is this critical seed money that 
leverages much of the rest, so the 
stakes are high. Without a tax-based 
revenue stream on the horizon (or 
something similar) to replace 
straight-out funding from Congress, 
public television is consigned to walk 
the tightrope of an increasingly mine- 



The language that ensured public 
television's vitality is being eroded by a 
steady drumbeat of commercialization 

and a political will to retreat from 
government support of anything but 

defense, commerce, and security. 



Spiraling state and federal deficits, a 
nasty recession, tax breaks geared for 
the top percentiles, massive military 
spending, and a virtual absence of 
informed debate about national val- 
ues are conspiring to deprive the 
country of its hard-won cultural insti- 
tutions. Disagreements about the 
quality and direction of public televi- 
sion decisions aside, it is a sure bet 
that if the PBS system were defunded 
tomorrow, there would be no way to 
gain the political traction necessary to 
create a new public media system as 
far-reaching as PBS is in this country. 
So if we want public media, or public 
anything for that matter, the time is 
now to make the case for the positive 
cultural impact, the incredible cost- 
effectiveness of nonprofit institutions 
in general— public television alone is 
only $1.09 per person per year in 
taxes— and at the same time, we need 
to push the PBS system we have to be 
better, bolder, and more relevant. 

Producers are a key constituency 
for providing vitality to public televi- 



filled political landscape to meet 
Congressional approval. 

Let's not forget the good news 
mentioned at the outset, though. For 
producers looking for work, public 
television's bureaucracy may seem 
daunting at first, but the opportuni- 
ties are growing and the economics 
are better than they have ever been. 
Sure, it may be harder to find your 
way through public television than 
the one-stop shopping of HBO or 
A&E, but only if you believe it is just 
another network or cable outlet. It 
isn't, and we should stop inviting the 
comparison. Of course PBS could be 
doing more adventurous program- 
ming, but in public affairs, history, 
independent documentary, and 
nature and science programming, 
PBS already excels. And it's true that 
the economics aren't always as lucra- 
tive as one might hope, but it is also 
true that acquisition fees and fund- 
ing possibilities have never been 
higher systemwide, nor has the 
emphasis on finding meaningful, 



14 The Independent | May 2003 



challenging stories instead of cookie- 
cutter formulas. 

Simply put, the nonprofit arena is 
still the best place to do something 
you believe in. Commercial efforts do 
not prioritize values over profits as a 
matter of course. In general they 
alternately look for the next "big 
thing" or the next cheap thing. If we 
are lucky, they do "quality" on the 
side, as a reward for bringing in the 
dollars on most of the other pro- 
grams. Public television and public 
culture strive in the opposite direc- 
tion. There is no other place dedicat- 
ed to the difficult and often contra- 
dictory propositions of democracy 
and a diversity of information. These 
concepts need to be nurtured, sup- 
ported, and made available through 
our education systems, our libraries, 
our galleries, our concert halls, and 
our public television system. And 
that is the heart of the matter— Who 
pays for the fostering of a healthy 
cultural landscape? Because we all 
pay when it is absent. 

This window to put back some of 
the muscle behind public funding 
may be brief, though. We have yet to 
see the worst of the impact from gov- 
ernment budgets and policies that are 
being unveiled every day in the guise 
of things like homeland defense. 
Producers, like everyone involved in 
public television, need to understand 
the larger issues at play with public 
media. It's a global question now, and 
if you want public television to work 
with you in the future, take some time 
to figure out the best way you can sup- 
port it now. It's not just an issue of 
your next film, it's the future of media 
that's at stake. D 

For more on media bias, see Eric Alterman's 
recent book, What Liberal Media? The Truth 
About Bias and the News (Basic Books, 
2003). 

See also: www.whatliberalmedia.com. 

Cara Mertes is the executive director ofP.O.V., 

PBS 5 premiere independent documentary 

showcase. She has been an advocate for 

independent media for over a decade. 




SCHOOL 

"ARTS 



of til 



THE INTERNATIONAL q| |he Co | umbja Unjversjty 

FILM INSTITUTE OF NEW YORK School of the Arts Film Division 

SUMMER^FILMMAKING PROGRAM 

Four and six-week hands-on filmmaking workshops will be offered this summer at Columbia University. 

The international Film Institute of New York will conduct five intensive programs in filmmaking with the 

support of Columbia University Faculty, Alumni, and working professionals in the motion picture and 

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a final project by the end of the course. All Workshops wilt be limited to 12 students per section. 







COURSE DATES 

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TUITION: $4,200.00 TUITION: $5,600.00 

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# 3 July 28, 2003 ■ August 22, 2003 

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT THE FILM INSTITUTE'S WEBSITE: 

http://www.nyfilmschool.com or e.mail us at: info@nyfilmschool.com 

Die International Film Institute of New York's Curriculum »as created »itfi the aide of Columbio University Faculty and Alumni. Student evaluations 
ore collected at the conclusion of every workshop to help the Institute improve the quality of the programs ond to ensure student satisfaction. 

THE INTERNATIONAL FILM INSTITUTE OF NEW YORK 1382 3RD AVE., SUITE 368 NEW YORK, NY. 10021 (212)706-2225 



May 2003 | The Independent 15 



LEARN® 



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WRITE • DIRECT • EDIT • SHOOT 



One Year Hands-on Intensive Program 

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NEW YORK CITY 

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HARVARD UNIVERSITY 
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LONDON, ENGLAND 

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NYFA at UNIVERSAL STUDIOS 

100 Universal City Plaza Drive 

Bldg 91 28, Universal City, CA 91 608 

tel 818-733-2600 • fax 818-733-4074 



NYFA at NEW YORK CITY NYFA at LONDON, ENGLAND 

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tel 21 2-674-4300 • fax 21 2-477-1 41 4 tel 020-7848-1 523 • fax 020-7848-1 443 

email: film@nyfa.com email: filmuk@nyfa.com 



All workshops are solely owned and operated by the New York Film Academy and not affiliated with Universal or Disney-MGM studios, Harvard University or Princeton University 



profile 



Jennifer Dworkin 

PHILOSOPHER TURNS DOC FILMMAKER 
By Matt Wolf 



First- time filmmaker Jennifer 
Dworkin hasn't pinned 
down an auteurist philoso- 
phy on filmmaking. Still, 
her two-and-a-half-hour epic docu- 
mentary debut, Love and Diane, sent 
waves through top film festivals, fol- 
lowed by a theatrical release and 
upcoming broadcast on PBS's P.O.V. 
Dworkin, a Ph.D. candidate in philos- 
ophy at Cornell University, put her 
studies on hold to finish the thirteen- 
year filmmaking journey with three 
generations of one family. 

Love and Diane focuses on the turbu- 
lent relationship between a mother 
and daughter. Each struggle against 
overwhelming odds to reverse 
destructive cycles. Love Hazzard can- 
not forget the day she and her siblings 
were torn away from their drug- 
addicted mother, Diane, and thrust 
into the "system." Ten years later, 
Dworkin's camera follows a reunited 
family burdened with new obstacles. 

Love is now eighteen, HIV positive, 
with a newborn child named Donyaeh. 
Diane's son Charles committed sui- 
cide only months prior. Consumed by 
profound guilt but empowered with 
sobriety, Diane commits herself to 
rebuilding her family and gaining 
financial independence. But when 
Diane confides her fears about Love's 
volatile temper and alarming depres- 
sion to a therapist, the police arrive at 
the family's front door to separate 
Donyaeh from his mother. Charged 
with neglect, Love confronts the 
demons of a family cycle. 

Dworkin picked up heavy story- 
telling responsibilities. She enables the 
family to explain themselves in the face 
of institutional suspicion and emo- 



Love and Donyeah Hinson are subjects 
of Jennifer Dworkin's Love and Diane. 



tional distress. Without any narration, 
editor Mona Davis fluidly combines 
cinema verite conventions with unique 
interior dialogues. And the family 
drama quickly unfolds as hurtful 
memories fuel a present-tense crisis. 

Dworkin's strategy of incorporat- 
ing "self explanation" draws inspira- 
tion from erudite philosophical 
inquiry. Born in New York but raised 
in England, Dworkin attended a tradi- 
tional girls prep school and returned 
to the States for a short-lived college 
career at Harvard. Between England 
and New York, Dworkin dabbled in 
ticket sales at local arthouse movie 



investigates how we explain and rec- 
oncile our own actions. 

Unlike many Ph.D. students, 
Dworkin is not interested in becoming 
a college professor. She found her 
inspiration from volunteer work at 
family shelters in New York City. 
Dworkin started a photography pro- 
gram for youth that eventually includ- 
ed the production of black-and-white 
Super 8 films, which appear through- 
out Love and Diane. Committed to facil- 
itating self-representation, Dworkin 
began to develop a community-based 
documentary project at the shelter. 

Dworkin grew close to a young girl 
named Selina Hazzard and spent 
years collecting footage of her family. 
Her guardian, Victor, an HIV-positive 
drug addict, became seriously ill, and 
Selina moved in with her aunt. In the 
aunt, Diane, Dworkin found the new 
protagonist for her film. When 




theaters before curtly testing the New 
York University film school experi- 
ence. Years later, much to her surprise, 
Dworkin realized she could attend 
graduate school without an under- 
graduate degree. She committed her- 
self to studying philosophy of the 
mind and researching the cognitive 
sciences of self-knowledge. Dworkin 



Dworkin stopped by the apartment to 
interview Selina, she initiated a casual 
interview with Love and Diane. "The 
beginning was about Selina. Then the 
two just started to talk partly to me 
and partly to each other about things 
that happened in the past," Dworkin 
explains. Dworkin captured the 
highly charged conflict between 



May 2003 | The Independent 17 



Diane and Love, a mixture of conver- 
sation and explanation. 

Dworkin tried to keep Selina in the 
film, but the story quickly shifted to 
Love and Diane. Five years after begin- 
ning her film project, Dworkin started 
over. Still in grad school, she was 
shooting solo, using radio mics, only 
occasionally with the assistance of a 
cinematographer. Without funding, 
the bare-bones production continued 
for three years. But when Donyaeh 
was removed from Love's care, 
Dworkin left Cornell and committed 
herself full-time to the film. 

Luckily, a string of encouraging 
developments propelled the seemingly 
endless production for- 
ward. Dworkin cut a trail- 
er and received her first 
grant from ITVS, stamp- 
ing the project with seri- 
ous broadcast validity. 
One year later, documen- 
tary heavyweight Jennifer 
Fox, creator of the ten- 
hour American Love Story 
series, came onboard as 
executive producer. 

The miniature crew 
kept shooting with the family while 
editor Mona Davis began assembling 
the epic. Thierry Garrel at the French 
television company ARTE joined the 
team as a coproducer. And at the same 
time, a European pre-sale to BBC 
funded the film's completion. 
Dworkin and her editor were flown to 
Paris to finish postproduction. 

But Love and Diane did not immedi- 
ately capture the spotlight. Dworkin 
received a pile of rejection letters 
from film festivals around the world. 
"I feared that the film wouldn't be 
seen. I became so discouraged that I 
stopped sending it to festivals." 
Luckily, Dworkin's French coproduc- 
er insisted on submitting Love and 
Diane to the New York Film Festival. 
Its premiere at Lincoln Center 
sparked a chain of festival invitations 

Jennifer Dworkin, filmmaker and 
philosopher. 



and awards. "The screening at the 
New York Film Festival was one of 
the high points of my life. Everyone 
in the film came, and there was 
incredible responses from the audi- 
ence," Dworkin remembers. 

Airing on P.O.V. is another high 
point. It answers not only a broadcast 
dream but a larger one, because the 
series invests resources in community- 
based outreach. Dworkin always 
hoped this film would have a power- 
ful impact in the community it repre- 
sents. "There are lots of rags-to-riches 
narratives, and this is not; this story is 
tough," she explains. Dworkin also 
hopes the film will be an effective edu- 




cational tool for social workers and 
public defendants by offering an inte- 
rior view of a family's struggle 
through the system 

Still, Dworkin sees Love and Diane 
more as a complex psychological 
portrait of a mother and daughter 
than a politicized documentary 
about foster care and welfare. 
"Everyone [in the film] was trying to 
do what they thought was right, even 
people who did destructive things," 
says Dworkin, who refuses to place 
blame. She may not yet claim a per- 
sonal filmmaking philosophy, but 
with this film Dworkin reveals a fas- 
cination for the inexplicable choices 
and mistakes people make which 
fuel not only human drama but the 
questions posed by philosophers. D 



Matt Wolf is a filmmaker and 
writer in New York. 



18 The Independent | May 2003 



profile 



Steve Mendelsohn 

MANHATTAN NEIGHBORHOOD NETWORK 
By Mark J. Huisman 



unning a public access tel- 
evision station is not what 
most high-powered corpo- 
rate VP's would consider a 
smart career move, much less a dream 
job. But holding a resume with 
Wharton, Harvard